Reviewed By PyThomas
Posted 07/15/99 12:08:20

"Comedy Film of the Century. The rest are just hang-gliders."
5 stars (Awesome)

"Ever seen a grown man naked?" Okay, so you won't see a naked man on screen, but there is a one-second shot of a topless woman.

Alas, the brothers Zucker (and one Jim Abrahams). It seems they broke the mold when they made Airplane!, a 1980 film that parodied the old disaster movies of the seventies. Back then, the "Airport" series of films was getting worn out. (I believe we were up to "The Concorde: Airport '75" or something.)

And since their golden fart of a comedy came out, nothing they would later film would ever match it.

Maybe you can only stretch the visual-gag-per-minute type satire so far. Maybe the current events became so farcical in itself that parodying them would only be redundant. But in any case, Airplane! made me laugh when I first saw it (I was only 8, so I didn't get everything), and kept me laughing every time I saw it again. It seemed you always found something new to laugh at well into the tenth or so viewing.

Plot? Why bother having one? Well, there IS an overall story... Ted Striker (Robert Hays), a veteran pilot, boards an airplane flight to try to win back the heart of Elaine (Julie Hagerty), a flight attendant on board. Food poisoning claims the lives of the pilots, and Ted must get over his war trauma to fly the plane and save everyone aboard.

Like I said, the plot ain't as important as the sharp satire and rapid-fire gags. Some of them were topical for their times and now seem dated ("WZAZ Chicago, where disco lives forever!" *CRUNCH*), but the good ones - and there were lots of good ones - are timeless.

Turning in memorable performances are Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, and a host of others.

No satire-type film released afterwards could ever top this one. Not even Airplane II. So go rent this classic laugh-your-ass-off movie for your next get-together. And stop calling me Shirley.

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