Hot Shots! (1991)
I've fallen for this movie like a blind roofer.
17 June 2012
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.
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