One of summer 2014’s biggest hits is 22 Jump Street, a comedic take on a TV crime drama that came nearly three decades before it. The same can be said for the financially successfully 1987 summer pic Dragnet, which was based on the Jack Webb show from the 1950s and 1960s.
Dragnet has developed a fairly poor reputation in the past quarter century, but truth be told – it’s a lot of fun and is worth a look for some genuine laughs. It earns a spot in my Guilty Pleasures blog series. The film stars Dan Aykroyd, who gives one of his greatest comedic performances channeling Webb as straight-laced LAPD sergeant Joe Friday. His smart ass partner Pep Streebek is played by Tom Hanks, a few years prior to his serious acting turns and multiple Oscars. We also have Christopher Plummer as a corrupt televangelist and Dabney Coleman as a Larry Flynt like porn peddler. The duo are chasing down a cult group called P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy – love that name) who believe in crazy activities like sacrificing virgins such as Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul). One of the my favorite running jokes in the movie is that everyone refers to her constantly as “The Virgin Connie Swail” – as if she’s a Biblical figure.
Most critics didn’t like it and don’t get me wrong – Dragnet does not approach the 80s greatness of your Vacation or Ghostbusters and so forth. Yet it’s heart is in the right place and there are plenty of laughs to be had. It more than earns a spot on my Guilty Pleasures list.