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  • With the success of "Airplane!" came many other similar style films. Some were by the same folks who made "Airplane!", such as "Hot Shots!", and many were by wannabes....who generally came up very short in bringing off such a rapid-fire comedy. While not quite as funny as "Airplane!", I think "Hot Shots!" is probably about as close as they got to recapturing the style and humor...along with "Airplane! 2".

    This film is a send off of "Top Gun". Through the course of the film, all sorts of crazy and silly stuff happens...but there really isn't much of a plot until the film is mostly over...and I can live with that! One joke after another after another...with most of them working....this is a very funny film...one I strongly recommend if you are feeling down and need a laugh.
  • SnoopyStyle2 August 2014
    It's parody of "Top Gun" from Jim Abrahams of "Airplane!" and "Naked Gun". Lt. Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) is the Maverick character who is struggling with his father's history. Lt. Kent Gregory (Cary Elwes) is the Iceman character. Ramada Thompson (Valeria Golino) is Topper's psychiatrist. Jim 'Wash Out' Pfaffenbach (Jon Cryer) suffers from walleye vision. Pete 'Dead Meat' Thompson (William O'Leary) is ... well ... dead meat. Adm. Thomas Benson (Lloyd Bridges) is their clueless commanding officer. Lt. Cmdr. James Block (Kevin Dunn) is trying to create problems so that they get new planes with help from the manufacturer.

    This is a much more sillier movie. The jokes aren't all good. I actually liked the 'Elephant with 3 balls' joke because it plays on a couple of different levels. The jokes are cute but they don't really get a big laugh. It's generally smirk worthy. It's a decline in quality from earlier excellence.
  • I get a kick out of these hit and miss comedy tributes to recent films. The more sight gags and ridiculous comments they can make, the more fun. I think the classic for this will always be the first "Airplane" movie. In this one, Charlie Sheen reprises Tom Cruise's character from "Top Gun." When the eggs started frying on that girl's body, I nearly fell off my chair. Not to mention that the plot itself and the mission involved are absolutely ridiculous. Except for the fact that they could not be anything else. The inimitable Charlie Sheen with his over-confidence and his somewhat bewildered look is the perfect choice for this. He has that handsomeness that works in this role. If you want to laugh out loud, take a chance.
  • 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.
  • kosmasp27 May 2021
    I should have rewatched Top Gun before seeing this ... I did hold back on that to make it a "double feature" when the second Top Gun movie finally gets its theatrical release .. you know when Cinemas reopen and all that. You can still see that it spoofs that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer (gay?) bromance . Now don't get overexcited or offended - the undertones are there and they get spoofed here. If you are easily offended maybe do not watch this movie. Though you'd be missing out on many good jokes - from one third of the Zaz team ... he knows his stuff for sure! And the cast is amazing too.

    Bridges is on a roll here, as is Sheen and the others. The erotic scene of the movie is exactly that by the way ... hot and steamy, but also super funny. I sort of miss those cool spoof movies ... you could tell they loved movies and didn't just make fun of anything they saw ... there was much love ... and ridiculous insanity included.
  • I've never seen "Top Gun", but as far as I'm concerned, "Hot Shots!" is sufficient! Since this is from the guys who gave us "Airplane!", that should tell you everything about it. There is actually a plot: loner Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) goes into the air force, and a series of goofy things ensue. But don't let that fool you. Just sit back and enjoy the gags (the one about the relatives should send you off the walls).

    As far as I'm concerned, Charlie Sheen really does work best in these kinds of roles. Also starring Cary Elwes, Valeria Golino, Lloyd Bridges. The sequel was absurd, but still quite funny.
  • jboothmillard8 September 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    I remember seeing this film once before, but I hadn't sen the obvious main film spoofed before, so it was a good idea that I see this again having watched that film, from director Jim Abrahams (Airplane!, Ruthless People). Basically Lt. Sean 'Topper' Harley (Charlie Sheen) is an ace top gun fighter pilot called back into action from his secluded life with a Native American tribe by Lt. Cmdr. James Block (Small Soldiers' Kevin Dunn). Serving on the S.S. Essess, he gains an enemy with other top gun pilot Lt. Kent Gregory (Cary Elwes), as they are both in love with the same woman, the beautiful Ramada Thompson (Valeria Golino). The mission for the squad is to destroy the nuclear plants of Saddam Hussein, but an aerospace company's owner is attempting sabotage, and Topper's personal demons are coming back when under pressure. In the end Topper manages to succeed with his regained abilities, he gets the girl, gains a friend in his original rival, and saves the day, before returning to his tribe life. Also starring Airplane!'s Lloyd Bridges as Admiral Thomas 'Tug' Benson, William O'Leary as Pete 'Dead Meat' Thompson, Kristy Swanson as Kowalski, Batman: The Animated Series' Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Wilson, Bill Irwin as Buzz Harley and Jon Cryer as Jim 'Wash Out' Pfaffenbach. If you have seen the films that have the mickey taken then you will get all the reference jokes, all with the added slapstick and stupidity element, it isn't quite the same spark as Airplane! or The Naked Gun, but it's not a bad spoof action comedy. Spoofs in the film include Top Gun, Dances with Wolves, Only Angels Have Wings, An Officer and a Gentleman, Gone with the Wind, Superman, Marathon Man, The Right Stuff and Full Metal Jacket. Worth watching!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sometimes silly, more often outrageously funny, and always propelled, it's a relatively well-plotted comedy, with Charlie Sheen and Cary Elwes competing for Valeria Golena and for the status of Top Gun in a Navy fighter squadron.

    If you've seen any of Jim Abraham's -- or Abraham's and Zuckerman's -- films before, no detailed description of the film or its comedic style is necessary, or even possible.

    There's a good deal of slapstick, which I'm inclined to overlook, but the gags are sometimes elegant and extremely funny. They often depend on taking figures of speech, or cinematic conventions, and interpreting them literally. Two brief examples.

    An admiral takes a pratfall. Aide: "Are you alright, Admiral?" Admiral (Loyd Bridges): "Allright? Of course I'm alright. Why? What have you heard?" A patient is being urgently wheeled down a hospital corridor, flanked by the usual coterie of staff in scrubs. The patient's worried friend asks: "Can you save him?" Doctor: "I don't know. I'm not a very good doctor. (To the patient) Now this may hurt. (Bends down and bites the patient's nose savagely.)" I don't want to go too far with this. There are sketches that parody all kind of popular movies. The main target is "Top Gun," but we also have non sequiturs thrust in from "Rocky" and who knows how many others, many of which I couldn't identify.

    If you don't laugh out loud, you should see somebody about it.
  • Having recently watched the entire god-awful Scary Movie series over four successive evenings, I vowed to do my chuckle muscles a favour and reacquaint myself with some of the genuinely hilarious 'send-ups' from my youth; so why the hell did I sit down and re-watch Hot Shots, which, although a slight improvement over the Wayans Brothers/David Zucker horror comedies, is far from a side-splitting classic? Most likely because I remember it as being funnier than it actually is, or maybe I was just confusing it with Part Deux.

    Whatever the reason, seeing the film again has done little to restore my love for the spoof genre, being a very hit and miss affair that primarily lampoons 80s blockbuster Top Gun, but also throws in random references to other films along the way. A few of the gags are funny (I enjoyed the silly repeat joke with the chihuahua), but the greater percentage fall flat on their face; given how rapid-fire the jokes are, that's an awful lots of groans over 84 minutes.

    I guess I'm going to have to go even further back through the annals of comedy to find a really good parody; I just hope that Airplane, Top Secret and The Naked Gun are actually as good as I think they are.
  • Jim Abrahams' first solo comedy effort Hot Shots! is a smash comedy that has many, many laughs and is as silly as anything Abrahams has done with his uoltra successful team of ZAZ (Zucker Abrahams and Zucker) which made Airplane, Top Secret, The Naked Gun and The Kentucky Friend Movie. Hot Shots deserves a place with them.

    Charlie Sheen plays a top gun type of charater that is trying to go against his father's reputation and still be able to fly and fight and all. The movie however doesn't try and go with the plot, which is always good in these movies, and it succeeds in bringing silly, goofy laughs just by having Lloyd Bridges act totally and utterly hilariously insane, or in just having a pilot with moose antlers. Deadpan. A
  • I can still remember seeing this movie in a theatre 21 years ago and cracking up at the various gags. Now, time and familiarity now lessen the impact of each gag but the movie remains good silly fun overall and a worthy successor to the "Naked Gun" franchise, having been co- written and directed by one third of the Z. A. Z. Team, Jim Abrahams.

    Here he and co-writer / executive producer Pat Proft delightfully skewer the "fly boy" movie, specifically "Top Gun", in its tale of a talented fighter pilot, Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen, who really is very good at this sort of thing) who's having a hard time dealing with the legacy of his dad Buzz (Bill Irwin), who was equally talented yet utterly reckless. Topper has to overcome his feelings in order to effectively serve as the anchor in a top secret mission, code named Sleepy Weasel. At the same time he aggressively pursues super sexy base psychiatrist Ramada (sultry Valeria Golino) and has various confrontations with vain, hostile pretty boy pilot Kent Gregory (Cary Elwes, who'd already proved his comedic abilities in "The Princess Bride").

    What continues to make "Hot Shots!" very pleasant and agreeable is its high quotient of successful jokes; there's very little here that falls flat, thanks to the wit and invention of Abrahams and Proft and the deft editing and pacing. Along the way the filmmakers take playful jabs at such movies as "Superman", "Gone with the Wind", "Rocky", "Dances with Wolves", and in a sequence that may make the viewer hungry as well as horny, "9 1/2 Weeks". The "Dances with Wolves" jokes are particularly hysterical as the disgraced Topper has shunned society to live with truly wacky Indians whose Chief likes to listen to MC Hammer on his Walkman.

    A lot of the absolute biggest chuckles, though, come from the performance of lovable old veteran Lloyd Bridges, whose association with Abrahams dated back to "Airplane!" when he'd first sent up his straight man image. Here he's the senile and hilarious Admiral who's prone to slurping pudding out of a coffee mug and mistaking a photograph for a window. "Roy? ROY!" A top notch supporting cast acquits themselves well, including Sheens' future 'Two and a Half Men' co-star Jon Cryer, William O'Leary, Kevin Dunn, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Kristy Swanson, and Heidi Swedberg, with small roles for the likes of Proft (as the lounge singer), film composer Marc Shaiman as the pianist, Ryan Stiles as the ill-fated "Mailman" Farnham, and Don Lake as the doctor.

    Inspired use is made of the song "Dream Lover", and Golino seriously smokes during a priceless rendition of "The Man I love". "Hot Shots!" is a fun flick that zips along engagingly, always with another great joke to come and a very bright wrap-up.

    Followed by a sequel two years later.

    Eight out of 10.
  • Obviosly this was a spoof of Top Gun. I don't know why anyone needs to spoof Tom Cruise, as I feel he does pretty good job of spoofing himself with his jumping on the couch. Beside that, South Park spoof him better than anyone I've seen.

    Mel Brooks is the best at spoofs. They should t6ake some lessons from him. There were a few laughs here, but most of the gags were pretty stupid.

    I like Charlie Sheen, so I hung in there, but I will not be back.

    I have to say, Valeria Golino, where have you been all my life? Italian and Greek, just like Michael's wife in The Godfather. I see she is doing something with Harvey Keitel next year. I can hardly wait. I see also that she was in a take-off of James Nond. I'll have to check that out. I'll also have to look for Frida and Escape from L.A.
  • The movie is full with very, very stupid scene's that are funny at the same time which makes this movie in a way irresistible to watch.

    The story is just a lame excuse to make a movie full with jokes. So Basically the story serves no purpose at all and it are the jokes and the jokes only that make the movie. Some of the jokes are really lame and stupid and some of the jokes are so lame and stupid that they are actually funny. The humor is typical Jim Abrahams like and a must see for his fans and fans of Leslie Nielsen movies.

    I never thought I would say this but Charlie Sheen is unfortunately no Leslie Nielsen. He just is not the greatest comical talent I have seen. Cary Elwes however does surprising good and Lloyd Bridges is simply hilarious, I have to admit that I laughed at nearly every scene with him in it.

    Not the best comedy of all time but funny enough to watch over and over again.

    6/10

    http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
  • I like to see what movies I recognize being parodied in spoof movies. If it were still the early 90's, then I think I could've gotten all the references. As it is, I readily recognized four movies being parodied:

    "Top Gun" (the primary basis for "Hot Shots!")

    "Days of Thunder"

    "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"

    "Dances With Wolves"

    And even though it's not a movie reference, the first Iraq War was going on at that time and there was a heavy dose of that parodied.

    That's about all I got. The movie wasn't all that good, it certainly was no "Naked Gun."
  • HOT SHOTS! (1991) *** Charlie Sheen, Cary Elwes, Valeria Golino, Lloyd Bridges, Kevin Dunn, Jon Cryer, Kristy Swanson, Efrem Zimablist, Jr. The "Airplane!" treatment of "Top Gun" with Sheen perfectly dead-pan as a maverick fighter pilot and his motley crew of oddballs. Sightgags aplenty and Bridges is a riot as the leader's surgically enhanced doofus.
  • AlsExGal11 September 2020
    If you are going to watch "Top Gun", please watch that film first before this one. It will make this film much funnier plus, Top Gun has not aged well and will seem cheesier than normal if you watch it last.

    This is the Abrahams & Abrahams style ("Airplane", "Naked Gun") parody of the 1986 Reagan era military action film, Top Gun. It is hilarious and nothing is sacred. It is probably one of the ten funniest films I have ever seen, but nothing is ever going to top Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles. I'll just say, don't think that if you find this film in the middle of the night and say "this will be a good oldie to fall asleep to" that you will do any such thing. I made that mistake.

    Charlie Sheen plays the troubled pilot Topper Harley that is the equivalent of Tom Cruise's character in Top Gun. Cary Elwes is his rival. In this film Topper Harley's love interest is his therapist, Ramada (Valeria Golino), instead of a physicist and Top Gun instructor. Because then they'd have to inject some science into this film and it would ruin everything.

    The jokes are just non stop. Sight gags are everywhere. There is a welcome home banner that actually says "Welcome Home Banner". And there is a send up of the food scene in "9 1/2 Weeks" (1986) that will have you never looking at olives quite the same. And Lloyd Bridges does a hilarious rendition of a clueless and completely incompetent Admiral, with one particularly great line to the villains of the film - "You risked the lives of some damn fine pilots... and that's *my* job!"

    Notice that Jon Cryer costars in this film 12 years before he and Sheen starred in the TV series "2 1/2 Men". Is there a story there? Maybe.

    At any rates laughs are hard to come by these days. For absolutely stress free film watching that is wall to wall laughs with no chance of an Oscar worthy moment, this film still fits the bill.
  • Never really watched Top Gun and that is the movie this one takes the most shots at. Charlie Sheen is in the lead role here and he is very funny and good...I always think he is one of the funnier actors out there. Jon Cryer whom Charlie costars in two and a half men is also great in this one and Lloyd Bridges is right at home in a spoof movie. I also like Cary Elwes. The plot has a man recruiting the best pilots around, he recruits Topper Harley out of an Indian reservation and before you know it you are meeting the recruits and their fates in the case of "Dead Meat" who just has a wonderful family and everything is going right for. You of course have the meeting with the sexy lady that ends up with a rather bizarre love scene ala Nine and a Half Weeks involving foods. Still Lloyd Bridges takes the cake as the funniest guy in the movie as the man has had quite a few operations. This movie is a spoof though, so along with all the funny things going on, there are some dud jokes as well. This is also the type of spoof where it is dependent on you having seen the films it parodies for maximum effect.
  • I'm not really sure how it is that I'd seen "Part Deux" a good five or six times as a teenager but never the first one. The humor in "Hot Shots" is as broad as possible, always trafficking in outright silliness. In that regard, not all of the jokes work, but the ones that do are knee-slappers. And Lloyd Bridges is comedy gold, I mean the man doesn't have one line that isn't a scream.

    And the humor doesn't even stop until the credits are done. Gotta respect that.

    7/10
  • namashi_119 December 2011
    Jim Abrahams 'Hot Shots!' is Slap-Stick Fun! It's deadpan hilarious & earns itself a viewing. Believe me, if you want to have a full-hearted laugh, then 'Hot Shots!' is waiting for you.

    'Hot Shots!' Synopsis: A Parody of 'Top Gun', in which a talented but unstable fighter pilot must overcome the ghosts of his father and save a mission sabotaged by greedy weapons manufacturers.

    You can't look for logic in 'Hot Shots!'. This is Slap-Stick stuff, in which, it's the humor that has to work, nothing else. In that department, 'Hot Shots!' clicks & how. It parodies 'Top Gun' to the hilt, and the overall jokes & story-telling, is truly laugh-out-loud funny!

    Abrahams & Pat Proft's Screenplay is ingenious. Abrahams's direction on the other-hand, is highly energetic. Cinematography is satisfactory. Editing is decent.

    Performance-Wise: Late/Great Lloyd Bridges steals the show with a performance that will you in splits! Charlie Sheen is adequate. Cary Elwes is in full form. Valeria Golino is perfect. Jon Cryer brings the house down with several hilarious moments. Kevin Dunn is good. William O'Leary is passable. Ryan Stiles stands out in a small cameo.

    On the whole, 'Hot Shots!' is Slap-Stick Cinema At Its Best!
  • I'm not sure why, but I guess I was interested in seeing the first Hot Shots since my mom only has the sequel and I noticed the movie in Blockbuster, I also love Charlie Sheen in comedies, he works so well in spoofs. Not to mention all in all, I do love spoofs, most work for me. It's just the kind comedy that I like. Hot Shots! proved itself to be a worthy spoof that is more than worth watching. It spoofs Top Gun, An Officer and a Gentleman, 9 1/2 Weeks, Gone with the Wind, Rocky, among many other movies.

    Topper is a pilot who is wanted back in the navy and falls for a woman, but he has an edge is considered a rebel. Cary Elwes gives him a hard time constantly, especially since his father caused Cary's father to have a freak plane accident. Cary is also in love with Topper's woman and wants revenge.

    Hot Shots is a great comedy that I have to admit is a guilty pleasure, but it has so much that most comedies lack now a days. It's just a fun innocent movie that deserves a little bit of a higher rating. Charlie Sheen rocks in comedies, although they have destroyed my new favorite guilty pleasure, 9 1/2 Weeks, it's all good.

    7/10
  • There's a certain something about spoofs. Ever since "Airplane!" we've endured countless remakes and sequels ending with exclamation marks. "Top Secret!", "Mafia!", "Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad!", "Austin Powers," and countless others, all spoofing certain genres.

    There was a group of men for really getting the spoof industry started: Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker, a.k.a. ZAZ to the fans. It comes as no surprise that Jim Abrahams, one of those men, was a co-writer and the director of "Hot Shots!", a film spoofing mainly "Top Gun." Something that worked about films like "Top Secret!" and such is that though they spoofed a certain genre, in that case spy movies, they also threw in gags spoofing some other films. "Hot Shots!" is pretty much just a spoof of "Top Gun," and you can imagine how tiring watching one continuous gag can be. "Hot Shots!" is a good film, dare I say funny, but it isn't as great as it could and should have been. It's hard to explain: It's got the gags, but...it doesn't have the quality gags, I suppose. It's just not quite as funny as possible.

    There's always the common idiot in one of these slapstick films. The main character who is oblivious to things going on around him, who takes the stupid for serious. It worked for Leslie Nielsen in "The Naked Gun," and in this case, we've got hotshot pilot Topper (Charlie Sheen), who is recruited into the Navy as a pilot. Sheen takes a lot of pointers from Nielsen's dry slapstick; he is no Jerry Lewis, he is a man with serious expressions who is in the center of bad happenings. His arch-nemesis (played by "The Princess Bride's" Cary Elwes) is the Val Kilmer of this movie. In one scene, Elwes reveals that his father's death was caused, in part, by Sheen's father. Their fathers were both flying together when their plane started to go down; Sheen's father ejected, Elwes' messed up his ejection and crash-landed the plane, only to get shot by hunters mistaking him for a deer.

    One of the other men in their squad of fighter pilots reveals that his father was the one who shot Elwes's dad. "It's okay, anybody could make that mistake--but it's all his fault," Elwes says, pointing at Sheen.

    The humor works, and Sheen is funny, but he is no Leslie Nielsen, and the film is no "Naked Gun." This movie is more of a "Naked Top Gun." The humor is there, but the quality isn't as much as "Airplane!" or "Naked Gun," making "Hot Shots!" worth a rental but not a purchase.

    3/5 stars -

    John Ulmer
  • the movie hot shots is obviously a broad comedy.you really have to look at the big picture to understand its genius.it's sort of like the monty python gang doing their take on hamlet and playing it straight.that's the genius of hotshots,that the actors play it as if they too were doing hamlet.of course there are several funny bits contained in the movie,and two sequences which are absolutely hysterical.but it is the intentional over the top acting that really makes this movie.i suspect they may have had to do numerous takes for many scenes, because the actors could not keep a straight face.the dialogue is brilliant in this movie and delivered perfectly deadpan every time.and of course there is also some physical comedy,which doesn't hurt.this was a much more enjoyable movie than the naked gun series. i also must mention lloyd bridges who played a very important,and very dimwitted admiral.there are many absurd scenes which are brilliantly overacted.this is a fast paced movie, which kept me interested to the very end. 6.75*
  • This is a comedy from Jim Abrahams, spoofing Top Gun in which unstable fighter pilot Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) tries to complete his mission of destroying the Iraqi dictator's nuclear plants.

    It's non-stop laughs from start to finish, from unending gags to hilarious spoofs of movies such as Top Gun, Superman and Gone with the Wind. The acting was great, each character delivering funny performances that made the plot entertaining and engaging. I especially liked Lloyd Bridge's clueless and comedic performance as the incompetent Adm. Thomas Benson.

    This movie is not so much dumb as is pure fun and entertainment, as all the characters acted seriously on their "missions." The film has a fast-paced plot and story nonetheless, despite all the spoofed humor. It's a great comedy - ranking up there with the Naked Gun and Airplane films!

    Grade A
  • Lejink18 January 2011
    Well, I'm a sucker for James Brooks' spoofs of popular films and even though I've (purposely) never watched "Top Gun", I laughed loud and often at the million and one gags offered here. Charlie Sheen plays it deadpan throughout, with Valeria Golino adding some Latin passion as his "torn between two lovers" psychiatrist and of course Lloyd Bridges replaying his patented Patton gone mad routine.

    References to numerous other Hollywood blockbusters from the recent and not so recent past abound, as per usual, the funniest being the skit on "The Fabulous Baker Brothers" and the "frying tonight" send up of "9 1/2 weeks" (you should see what this girl can do with an olive!).

    There are as many sight as verbal gags and naturally the scattergun approach means that one or two of the jokes will have you wincing, but don't worry, a belly laugh will be along soon enough. And for what it's worth, the flying circus shots are very well done. I have "Part Deux" recorded and will hasten to watch it the very next time I need a good laugh after a long day at work - that'll be soon then!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Maybe the passing of time had an effect on me but I'm not sure I would praise "Hot Shots!" like my 16-year old counterpart did when he first saw it. This is not the first time my enthusiasm fades over the years, I had the same reaction with "Spaceballs" recently… but I still enjoyed "Top Secret!" and "The Naked Gun". So, I feel quite fair and if I list the ten reasons why I didn't enjoy "Hot Shots!".

    1- Charlie Sheen can't carry a whole movie, let alone a comedy, there is just something blank and 'soulless' (I stole that line from Homer Simpson) in this actor's eyes that having a whole film depending on it isn't the biggest favor you're doing it. A Leslie Nielsen, he's not, but even when compared to Val Kilmer, Todd Hayes or Bill Pullman, he fails to equal them as the straight-guy-but-not-too-much-so-he-can-be-funny. He even managed to ruin the "Nine Weeks and Half" moment. To his defense, he's not helped by the rest of the cast that looks as bored as he is, except for Lloyd Bridges.

    2- And they even managed to "overuse" Lloyd Bridges and his war wounds jokes.

    3- Now that I think about it, Cary Elwes might have been an interesting Topper Harley, he proved his ability for comedy in "The Princess Bride".

    4- The film has the same problem than "Spaceballs" actually, it explores a type of material that is already a matter of not to be taken seriously, "Top Gun" was already an unintentionally funny movie so trying to provoke intentional laughs with elements that make fun of things that are funny without trying is like ordering sushi just because you need rice. The purpose of a parody movie is to work on unpredictability, to provide a twist on the usual tropes, that's why "Naked Gun" was good, it didn't target a specific movie, it was about a genre. But "Hot Shots!" is so busy parodying all the "Top Gun" and US. Navy movies it was unchained to a limiting premise.

    5- It is badly edited. And I don't care if a parody, it's still a movie, and some shots were rather cheap looking. The part where Valeria Golino makes a few acrobatic moves before landing on the horse shows such an obvious cut. Why should that be intentional? It's funnier if it feels like she did that stunt.

    Halfway through this review, I feel the need to mention that some parts were still hilarious, like the "Dances With Wolves" helium moment, the running-gag involving the Chihuahua, and the whole set-up before the obligatory death of one of the partners. In fact, the whole "Deadmeat" part has that energy and spice it lacked through the film. The "Only You" part was cute but nothing more. Now, to the list.

    6- The plot is unclear and unfocused. I know that a plot shouldn't matter in this specific brand of humor but only in the case where we're so carried away by the laughs that the plot is pointless. "Hot Shots!" is structured around the trauma of Topper, some secret mission in Iraq, and another scheme lead by the Kevin Dunn's character, which is rather under-cooked.

    7- Too many slow moments and too many jokes falling flat, by that I mean that they mostly feel like smirk worthy filler. The jokes treating jet planes like cars were already retreads of some hilarious gags from "Airplane!", a soldier sounding the bugle and being instantly trampled (ha-ha), the female pilot telling Topper he's a great guy, "so you are" (how, original) and "the drink is on the house" followed by masses of people invading the place, coming out of nowhere. Tex Avery did a better job by making everyone drink on the roof. Rather warm humor for a film called "Hot Shots!".

    8- The other ZAZ film of the same year, the sequel of "The Naked Gun" was much funnier so they still got it after all.

    9- In the 90's, parody wasn't exactly the it thing and movies like "Wayne's World" have proved that it takes more than mocking a previously viewed material to garner people's laughs, so, yes, there is something old-fashioned in "Hot Shots!", something that was fresh in the 80's but stopped to be at the 90's, it's just slightly better than the Leslie Nielsen flops of the late 90's, but it was announcing that disastrous trend.

    10- Finally, the most embarrassing moment, the most cringe-worthy, is the portrayal of Arabs. Yeah, you wouldn't care because you're part of the 'winning team', but in today's context, this has aged badly and dangerously. I don't mean Arabs being the bad guys, Germans aren't exactly boy scouts in "Die Hard", but they're marginalized group enough not to be both mocked and demonized. Having these pilots named "Hummus", "Baklava" and speaking gibberish like Couscous, Chich Kebab and having the guts to mix it with "Allah Akbar" made me wonder if the ZAZ weren't a bit anti-Arabs after all. I don't know, just thinking of the "Naked Gun" opening scene deepened that certitude.

    Laughs are supposed to be cathartic, if the film mocks the patriotic undertones of some Navy movies, it mocks the 'bad guys' with so much more contempt and offensiveness that you start taking it seriously after all. I know Saddam was the bad guy, I know the film was probably released at the midst of the Gulf War, and the "dream became reality" a few years after, look at what's became of Iraq now that the Public Enemy n°1 is gone.

    I want a parody or a comedy to make me chill, not to make me realize how one-sided and twisted the world is. The film ends with a song I love: "Dream Love", well, I have a dream when that never-ending cycle with Arabs as Hollywood or media bad guys will come to an end.
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