'Naked Gun' team's quick script turned into zany 'Lame Ducks'

May 23, 1991|By New York Times

Dennis Dugan, who directed episodes of "Moonlighting," "Wiseguy' and "Hunter" for television, invited some friends over to Universal Studios to give their opinion of his first feature film, "Problem Child.'

The friends were David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Pat Proft, whose names should conjure up the credits for "Airplane!' and "Naked Gun."

"So they came over," said Dugan, "and gave us really good notes; and an hour later, David called and said, 'There's a script on the way over to your house.' "

And now Proft's script has been turned into a film titled "Lame Ducks," starring John Turturro, Mel Smith and Bob Nelson as contemporary versions of the Marx Brothers and scheduled for release on July 26.

"These three," Dugan said of the characters portrayed by his stars, are "very minor-league con men, scam artists.

"They're not even up to con man. And there's the rich guy who has died and left all his fortune to make a ballet company, and whoever gets to direct this company is going to make a fortune."

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