Times Staff Writer

The most you can say for “Police Academy 3: Back in Training” (citywide) is that it’s no worse than “Police Academy 2”--which was awful.

Once again, director Jerry Paris and his cast are stuck with a script that’s a series of stale gags and jokes with scant characterization and virtually no relationships, the very qualities that formed the solid foundation for the hilarious original “Police Academy.” Returning to Toronto, where the first film was shot, hasn’t been any help.

It seems that the existence of the police academy run by the sweetly vague George Gaynes is now threatened. Art Metrano’s unctuous lieutenant, introduced in the second film, has been promoted to commandant of another police academy, but the governor (Ed Nelson) has decreed that the state can’t afford two such institutions and has ordered that a board of examiners will determine which school shall survive. Steve Guttenberg and other recruits from the original film decide to help Gaynes win the competition. It’s hardly a suspense-filled premise; if anything, you hope Guttenberg et al. will lose so there won’t be a “Police Academy 4.”


It’s impossible to find anything to praise about “Police Academy 3” except that its PG rating (for some innocuous sexual innuendo) makes it available to small children, who are most likely to be the film’s most appreciative audience. ‘POLICE ACADEMY 3: BACK IN TRAINING’

A Warner Bros. presentation. Producer Paul Maslansky. Director Jerry Paris. Screenplay Gene Quintano; based on characters created by Neal Israel & Pat Proft. Camera Robert Saad. Music Robert Folk. Production designer Trevor Williams. Assoc. producer Donald West. Costumes Aleida MacDonald. Stunt coordinator Alan Oliney. 2nd unit director M. James Arnett. Film editor Bud Molin. With Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Marion Ramsey, Leslie Easterbrook, Art Metrano, Tim Kazurinsky, Bobcat Goldthwait, George Gaynes.

Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes.

MPAA rating: PG (Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.)