I first saw this movie at the age of 15 and at that age I loved it for its slapstick humour and blatant bawdiness. Now as an adult, this film appears juvenile, offensive and not so funny, so what’s happened?
Police Academy is often described, along with Animal House and Airplane as the forerunner of today’s “gross-out” movies. Hollywood keeps on churning out these juvenile so-called comedies packed with as many obscene scenarios as possible – take Step Brothers which hit the UK cinemas on Friday. Clearly there is an audience and a market for these films – yes, a young one. With the exception of the big kids who never quite loose their playground humour, most people grow out of this type of film by the time they’ve reached their mid-twenties.
What I find interesting though is that while the American “gross-out” comedy loses its appeal once you turn a certain age, the British equivalents (Carry On films, Little Britain) continue to delight all ages. Why is this? I think it must be because the American genre is one-dimensional, whereas the British attempts have a multi-layered sophistication which speaks to a variety of audiences on different levels and amuses with a combination of slapstick, observational mockery, verbal wit and brilliant characterisation.
Six sequels followed 1984’s Police Academy, can you believe it? Maybe I should give it a look tonight simply for its weird nostalgic appeal.