In "Police Academy 3," the budget-busting governor decides that the state only needs one police academy (the audience may feel the same way). The two police academies must face off against each other. So Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) must assemble the old lovably kooky troops to fight off Commandant Mauser (Art Metrano).

Like its predecessors, "Police Academy 3" is a gag comedy, with the gags growing out of the familiar caricatures. Hightower (Bubba Smith) throws a rich snit's suitcase about a mile -- he's strong, get it? When the operator won't return an old lady's quarter, Tackleberry (David Graf) shoots the pay phone -- he's a gun nut, get it? Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), the tough woman cop, drags a recruit into her bedroom -- she's a secret sex nut, get it?

Once again, Steve Guttenberg moves through the movie as a sort of emcee and makes goo-goo eyes at a pretty girl (Shawn Weatherly). Once again, Michael Winslow does verbal sound effects (the best new one is his one-man breakdancing sound track). Bobcat Goldthwait, who enlivened "Police Academy 2" as a psychotic gang leader, returns, but the movie emasculates him by having him go over to the other side (although when he gargles tear gas, it's pretty funny).

In other words, we've seen it all before, and that makes it hard to even talk about "Police Academy 3" in cinematic terms -- as a character-driven series, it's closer to the style of weekly sitcom television. (It even has a television director, Jerry "Happy Days" Paris.) And that, I suppose, is the moral of the story: make movies like "Police Academy 3," and you're fine; try to make real movies, and you, uh, can't get arrested.

Police Academy 3, at area theaters, is rated PG.