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.