Spy Hard (1996)

If you hate the films of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer — Scary MovieDate MovieEpic MovieMeet the SpartansDisaster MovieVampires Suck and so on — blame this movie. This was their first script and it was directed by   Jason’s dad Rick, who had met star Leslie Nielsen while directing his Bad Golf VHS series.

Sadly, this movie is The Naked Gun without any of the brains behind the stupidity. There’s a fine line between clever and stupid, after all.

The best part of it? The credits, which features Weird Al becoming Tom Jones, all while repeatedly that the name of the movie is Spy Hard. If you love James Bond openings — obviously we do, as this site is hosting an entire month of Bond movies — you’ll go nuts over this.

Tom Jones may have passed out in the studio holding that last note. Weird Al? His head explodes. Bonus points for having Bill Conti, who composed the music for the Bond film For Your Eyes Only, create this song with Mr. Yankovic.

Sadly, the movie fails to live up to the great premise of the opening.

Secret agent WD-40 Dick Steele (two jokes for the price of one; I’m of the early SNL school that silly names are the easiest form of humor) is Nielsen’s role here and he has a partner, Veronique Ukrinsky, Agent 3.14 (Nicollette Sheridan) who helps him battle the armless and wheelchair-bound General Rancor (Andy Griffith, of all people).

It’s worth noting that the Bond films had a major role in Sheridan’s life. Her mother Sally played one of Blofeld’s Angels of Death in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and fell for Telly Savalas, who became her stepfather.

This is a movie packed with great folks trying their best to make it better, like Robert Guillaume as a former agent, Charles Durning as the director, Marcia Gay Harden (who has noted how much she hated being in the movie, despite having kind words for Nielsen) as the Moneypenny of sorts, Barry Bostwick as an old rival, a Home Alone-inspired agent named McLucky (Mason Gamble, who starred in Dennis the Menace and was also in Rushmore), Talisa Soto as an assassin (beyond he Mortal Kombat roles, she was also in the Bond movie Licence to Kill) and all manner of ridiculous cameos, from Dr. Joyce Brothers, Hulk Hogan and Ray Charles as a bus driver to Fabio, Pat Morita, Mr. T, “Downtown” Julie Brown, I Spy star Robert Culp, stuntpeople Ginger and Lauren Janes playing the same roles from True Lies, Michael Berryman, Curtis “Booger” Armstrong and, of course, Taylor Negron, an actor who valiantly tried to make every role more than it was.

The credits are stupidly funny, perhaps more than the rest of the film. I don’t know — I have a weakness for Nielsen’s movies, no matter how bad they get. You may hate this. Or love it. See it for yourself.

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