The world falls in love with a young Charlie Sheen while crying mercilessly.
A classic spoof comedy of the 80s, Jim Abrahams Hot Shots still lands continuous punches to the gut with slapstick, parody, spoof, sight gags and miscommunication humour cascading over an accurate Top Gun lampoon.
Following fighter pilot Topper (Charlie Sheen) as he is called to the Navy to fly a particularly difficult mission alongside nemesis Gregory (Cary Elwes ) and others such as Jon Cryer’s bumbling sidekick Washout. Valerie Golino provides mandatory love interest Ramada as the psychiatrist tasked to determine Topper’s mental state but falls for him instead. Lloyd Bridges delivers a knockout performance as the commander of the Navy fit for absolutely nothing.
The plot parodies Top Gun and while a knowledge of the original text assists with certain gags, even a passing knowledge will allow you to enjoy most of what is on offer here. The plot pales in comparison to the endless barrage of comedy. One of the things that makes the comedy work so well here and in similar movies like Flying High and Mel Brooks Spaceballs or Robin Hood: Men In Tights (Also staring Elwes) is the leads playing it straight. Sheen, Elwes and Golino play it straight, without a wink to the camera they believe in their motivations, power through irrelevant of what is thrown in their way and don’t wink at the camera however self aware the comedy is. It is left to the goofy Jon Cryer to play the fool and Lloyd Bridges to tear down the scenery around him and mince words with a grand indifference.
Hot Shots may not appeal to some, its quick fire comedic delivery may leave some cold. There is a requirement to have your eyes open at all times as ‘blink and you will miss it’ sight gags are delivered from the opening to closing credits (there is a brownie recipe and a bunch of fake credits in the end roll so stick around). While there are hidden gags and quick delivery, there is nothing subtle here, the comedy is a bludgeon that means this film will never end up on any critical acclaim list. You will know within 5 minutes if this is your favourite film since Chicken Park or entirely unwatchable.
While comedy is often difficult to critique as it is based upon preference, Hot Shots is still able to stand the test of time, and is a great way to tap into your funny bone. Infinitely quotable and gif-able, parody films like this don’t exist anymore, a mass of crass humour and obvious characterization has removed the joy that Mel Brooks and Leslie Nielsen brought to the genre. If you never want to see another Date Movie or Meet The Spartans, tap into a film like this.
And the best thing is they made a sequel too.