Still craving for the love of his life, Ted Striker follows Elaine onto the flight that she is working on as a member of the cabin crew. Elaine doesn't want to be with Ted anymore, but when the crew and passengers fall ill from food poisoning, all eyes are on Ted. Written by
The first time I saw this was at a sneak peek with my fiancée in 1980. I laughed so hard that it drove Deseret News film critic Christopher Hicks nuts; I believe he had to come back a second night as did most of us in order to catch most of the gags, they were flying at us so fast and furious.
The genius in this film existed in multiple places and at multiple levels: The Zucker Brothers were able to sell Paramount Pictures on the script of spoofing disaster movies that was their first big sell and then, they were able to stand up to studio pressure and not place comedic actors in the roles, but rather, long known dramatic actors who had never before done comedy, thus launching a few new careers, most notably Leslie Nielsen who before then had best been for his role in the television series of the 1960's The Bold Ones.
What we got is the stuff of which legends were made: Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar of the Los Angeles Lakers. Even Jill Whelan of The Love Boat was able to get in on the act by playing a pediatric patient in need of surgery across the country. This movie took non-stop slapstick to a new level never before traveled to. It made fun of so many films both disaster and non-disaster flicks which you needed a scorecard in order to keep track of how many.
Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty were simply brilliant in their roles as the star-crossed (or should I say star cross-eyed) lovers who just weren't quite the right fit for one another. Look for cameo appearances by Barbara Billingsley in a role that will surprise you, Jimmie Walker (CBS'Good Times in the 1970's); and for Ethel Merman. I won't tell you where he appears in the film. They will simply crack you up! This is a film that you will want to check out for a week on DVD rental for at least a week in order to catch all the gags and full subtleties and not-so-subtleties of the humor involved. After rental, you will want to BUY a copy of the DVD to keep.
Already honored by the American Film Institute as one of the Top 100 films of all time, this truly is a modern American classic! On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this film an 11/10. ***
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