23 August 2004 | bob the moo
Very high hit to miss ratio makes it almost stand out with Airplane and Naked Gun as one of the funniest spoofs around
Haunted by feelings of guilt over the actions of his father Buzz and having been kicked out of the navy, Topper Harley has withdrawn from the navy to a life of solitude, quiet contemplation and helium. However when Lt Commander Block comes to him with an offer of a second chance, to take part in secret mission Sleepy Weasel, Topper takes it up and signs up for training and briefing with the other pilots. However with a difficult love interest and his old fears resurfacing, can Topper hold it together? Can the mission succeed? Can Admiral Benson get it together? Only time, will tell.
The spoof genre is one that appears easy to do but things like Scary Movie, Spaceballs and others all show that it is not as easy as it appears it is not enough to simply ape films unless it is done cleverly and funnily as well. Hot Shots succeeds in this area by managing to make such fun out of serious films that it is hard not to laugh in fact I watched Top Gun recently and found it impossible not to laugh as I remembered Hot Shots! Of course it is not just the fact that it spoofs movies but also that the dialogue is really, really funny totally off the wall and takes you by surprise at times. A fine example of this is the dialogue given to Admiral Benson such as 'they ran out of material before they got to the knee so don't give me any sh*t'! This continues throughout the film and it rarely misses. Just like Top Gun the romance aspect isn't as funny as the other bits but even then it is still good. Some individual lines aren't as sharp as others but generally the film has enough great dialogue and funny movie spoofs (including quite a few Tom Cruise movies) to be consistently funny even after repeat viewings.
The cast is often important in this type of thing and those who have suffered the Wayans brothers mugging in their 'spoofs' will know exactly what I mean people like Leslie Nielsen make it look easy but it really isn't. And that is why the cast here should be largely praised for their straight delivery that serves to make the material even better. Although not the star of the film, every scene he is in is stolen by Lloyd Bridges so great in Airplane, he gets the best lines here and his character is hilarious. He is supported well by Sheen who proves really able in sending himself up and he has done well in other spoofs since then. The rest of the cast is made up of very familiar faces who all seem in tune with the material provided Elwes is fun; Cryer and O'Leary embrace their one-note characters. Golino is a bit dry in her delivery and doesn't help her already weak part in the film. Minor roles for Swanson, Stiles, Dunn and others are also good value for differing reasons and there are a few good cameos in there as well.
Overall, as with all these things you need to be in the mood but the strength of the material and the high hit ratio makes it easy to enjoy this film. Much more fun that Top Gun and consistently funny with regular laugh-out-loud moments this is a great spoof that is only just short of the greats like Airplane and Naked Gun.