December 12, 1988 12:00 PM

Bet on this one to be a big holiday winner. It’s no less crude, less silly or less stupid than Twins or My Stepmother Is an Alien. In fact, it’s cruder, sillier and stupider. The proud regard in which this farce holds bad taste makes it endearing. Directed by David Zucker, who with his brother Jerry and Jim Abrahams wrote and directed the 1980 comedy Airplane, The Naked Gun hinges on the same law-of-averages formula: Throw out a joke every 10 seconds and a few will have to hit the funny bone. Gun is actually a movie spin-off of the team’s 1982 TV series Police Squad, which lasted a historic four episodes. Leslie Nielsen, now 62, repeats his TV role as Frank Drebin, a cop whose confident good looks barely mask a raging incompetence. This time Drebin’s out to stop a terrorist attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth at a California Angels game. Don’t try to account for why Nielsen, Ricardo Montalban as the bad guy, Priscilla Presley as his hot-looking assistant, Nancy Marchand as the befuddled Mayor and George Kennedy as a benumbed cop are game to make complete fools of themselves for a cheap laugh. Just enjoy. (PG-13)

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