Ah, those zany folks at the Off Broadway Theatre are back in top form again, with their second “Dragnet” parody, “Grabnet II: Copping an Attitude.”
Written and directed by Eric Jensen, who also stars as Joe Thursday, “Grabnet II” is what OBT audiences have come to know and love: a loony parody with puns, sight gags and pop-cultural references flying fast and furious. It’s very similar to an “Airplane” or “Naked Gun” movie, except that here, the actors tend not to know their lines, which actually adds to the show’s humor. (Few things are funnier than seeing an actor improvise when he’s not supposed to. The night I saw it, I’d guess the show was a good five minutes longer than it was supposed to be, due to everyone’s screwing around.)
The plot involves the President’s daughter, Kay (Jennifer Anderton), who is kidnapped by the evil Juan (Cody K. Carlson), who is secretly in cahoots with the Chief of Police (David Hunsaker). Cops Joe Thursday and Frank Smith (Russell Peacock) are on the case — that is, until the potty-mouthed chief (he calls someone a “flippin’ fetchwad” at one point) fires Thursday.
Jensen, one of the funniest actors in Utah, is well-suited for this part. He tends to talk too fast anyway, and that’s perfect for the no-nonsense Joe Thursday.
Everything moves fast in this show, which is good. About half of the jokes are awful (“When’s your birthday?” “The first of May.” “What year?” “Every year”), but when you’re doing a thousand jokes a minute, who cares if only 50 percent amount to anything? The overall effect is that it’s one zinger after another.
There are some fantastic scenes, too, including a great hidden-microphone routine in which the microphone keeps slipping down Thursday’s shirt, causing him to go through contortions in order to get the bad guy to speak into it. The finale is great, too, as Frank realizes the only fight training he ever had was from watching “West Side Story” — which is what the last showdown between good and evil looks like.
This is a highly entertaining show, a live-action cartoon that just gets funnier as it goes.
As far as I could tell, there was nothing plagiarized in this show. Way to go, OBT!