Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988) — A subsidized vacation for the cast and crew

“I’m sorry to hear that… Captain Dork!”

Justin’s rating: No valley too deep, no mountain too high

Justin’s review: When I was a younger teen, I occasionally did a Ferris Bueller thing and took a fake sick day from school. I’m not condoning it, I’m just saying I did it. My favorite thing to do on these special, special days was to watch all of the Forbidden Movies in my parents’ VHS collection, the ones that were sure to cause eye cancer or something if we watched them without permission.

And what I mistakenly considered the most forbidden of them all was Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach: Extra Colons. For me, the appeal was the mistaken notion that this  was an R-rated movie (when it was, in fact, a super-tame PG), but it went a little more than that. The first Police Academy I ever watched, Miami Beach contained that special mixture of spices, late ’80s feel, and goofy slapstick. Becoming my first movie comfort food, I probably ended up watching this around 50 times in secret. Bwuah-ha-ha-ha, my parents will never know! Unless they read this review!

Groaning against the weight of the millions of expected Police Academy sequel barbs, I’m standing firm and claiming that even at number five, the word “sequel” is treated more with honor than with shame. Especially at number five. I’ll allow for the (laughter, please) old school, die-hard Police Academy fans who stubbornly claim that there’s no good Police Academy without Steve Guttenberg, but ask that special consideration be given for a filmmaking team that honestly did the best with what they had and ended up producing a fun, breezy comedy that makes the changes to the series enjoyable.

With Mahoney, Zed, and numerous others mysteriously absent — I’m blaming the Black Death — our remnants accompany Cmndt. Lassard to Miami Beach, where he is being honored as “Police Chief of the Decade” before being forced to retire. Big Strong Cop, Big Chested Cop, Fat Cop, Meek Voice Cop, Trigger Happy Cop and Funny Noises Cop are the few, the proud, the leftovers… but they’re probably happy, since they get more prominent roles because of it.

In Miami, they meet their new Leader Cop (Matt McCoy) and Love Interest Cop (Janet Jones), both of whom look good and wear bathing suits. Also along for the ride are Clueless Cop and Jerkwad Cop to be used as comedic foils when the various situations call for them.

As with any Police Academy, there is a crime-caper element. Here, a gang of diamond thieves pursue Lassard to retrieve their ill-gotten loot that he accidentally swiped. However, as with all of the these films, criminals and their wrongdoings are the least interesting part of this movie. Much more engaging is the ongoing party that spreads all creamy-like over the middle of the film, as the cops do funny things amid the festivities of the beach environment. Character development? Nah. Plot? I’ll get to it tomorrow. In the meanwhile, give us plenty of bikinis, stupid pratfalls, and ridiculous situations to feed our withering minds!

Because of this, Police Academy 5 feels like a vacation for the series. It’s first time away from the traditional Police Academy city/setting, and for the first time away from Guttenberg’s camera mugging. And when I perfect my time portal, I will use it to throw myself back into 1988 and into a better era. I’ll also buy huge amounts of stock in AOL and Google, and probably send young PoolBoy threatening letters just for kicks. It’s all good.

Didja notice?

  • Always check for change in public phone booths
  • Bras mean getting bus-sy
  • The grads exchanging caps after throwing them up into the air
  • Shooting people solves everything
  • And if you can’t real-shoot, fake-shoot
  • The tanks full of Lassard’s replacement goldfish
  • Clean your armadillo daily
  • Jones’ standby music
  • Bad guys should always hire people who call them “boss”
  • Every plane should have a petting zoo
  • Wow… in 1988 people could still smoke on planes
  • Airlines don’t mind if you take the doors off — they actually like it
  • If you’re going to pick-pocket, why not cross-dress while you’re at it!
  • The pool IS nice, too!
  • Jaws parody
  • I love pink shirts, don’t you?
  • Proctor’s shadow puppets
  • Alcohol + Fire = Not Good
  • Wow, what a sucky martial arts presentation!
  • It’s a clip-on! Are you sure?

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