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Dragnet Reviews

The monosyllabic, taciturn Jack Webb character of "Dragnet" fame is once more parodied in this less-than-skillful satire, one that is really just another TV skit ballooned into a feature film. Sgt. Joe Friday (Dan Aykroyd), nephew of the legendary Joe Friday, is a repressive sort who minds the rules to the point of idiocy. His rigid way of life is upset slightly by his free-and-easy partner, Pep Streebek (Tom Hanks). The pair stumble into a conspiracy involving a devilish evangelist (Christopher Plummer), a porn publisher (Dabney Coleman), and a chic police chief (Elizabeth Ashley). After the first 20 minutes of staccato interchanges between Friday and Streebek, the parody evaporates into Hollywood steam and only the situation scenes involving Plummer and Coleman offer comic relief. This is basically an uninspired, limited action spoof of the Webb TV show where Webb's stylized monotone delivery and deadpan wit is hammered flat by Aykroyd. Director Tom Mankiewicz brings little innovation and no surprises to DRAGNET. It simply doesn't come off, and the viewer will be left with an empty feeling, a vacuous notion that somehow the laugh scenes slipped by unnoticed. They were never really there.