Dragnet is both a nice homage to the TV show and a stupid 80s gem, a film that straddles multiple genres and ideas, but somehow does OK in a couple different worlds. How Dan Aykroyd ever got to be famous I’ll never understand, because he’s mostly just an untalented-but-lovable schlub. And how Tom Hanks ended up being the co-star here instead of the lead in even more baffling, but life goes on I guess. Dragnet is fun but almost completely worthless; not the worst way to spend 90 minutes.
LAPD Sergeant Joe Friday is sitting at the same desk his uncle worked, trying to make California a better place one bad guy behind bars at a time. He’s clean, timely, and by the book, and his new partner Pep Streebek is the exact opposite; a womanizer, sloppy, ignores the rules, a real hipster without a starched collar to his name. When the new buds find themselves at the heart of a bizarre investigation, one that includes a P.A.G.A.N. crime syndicate, stolen animals, porn, and the highest levels of government, they’ll have to work together to crack the case and gather the facts; just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.
So fluffy it can’t possibly hurt anyone, Dragnet is without much value other than frequent half-watches on TBS just for something to do and maybe laugh at. For all the jokes and all the fun had, there’s surprisingly little strong comedy, really; the movie is fun, but it’s not necessarily super funny. It simply isn’t that good, but it also finds a way to be somewhat comforting, like an old blanket that kinda smells. Hanks is obviously the talented one here, but this is Aykroyd’s show, which is maybe why its ceiling is so low. Still, watch for pure & easy entertainment; you won’t be challenged but you won’t be bored.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆