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Hot Shots!
1991 - PG-13 - Mins.
Director: Jim Abrahams
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Jon Cryer, Cary Elwes, Jerry Haleva
Review by: John Ulmer
There's a certain something about spoofs. Ever since "Airplane!" we've endured countless remakes and sequels ending with exclamation marks. "Top Secret!", "Mafia!", "Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad!", "Austin Powers," and countless others, all spoofing certain genres.

There was a group of men for really getting the spoof industry started: Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker, a.k.a. ZAZ to the fans. It comes as no surprise that Jim Abrahams, one of those men, was a co-writer and the director of "Hot Shots!", a film spoofing mainly "Top Gun." Something that worked about films like "Top Secret!" and such is that though they spoofed a certain genre, in that case spy movies, they also threw in gags spoofing some other films. "Hot Shots!" is pretty much just a spoof of "Top Gun," and you can imagine how tiring watching one continuous gag can be. "Hot Shots!" is a good film, dare I say funny, but it isn't as great as it could and should have been. It's hard to explain: It's got the gags, doesn't have the quality gags, I suppose. It's just not quite as funny as possible.

There's always the common idiot in one of these slapstick films. The main character who is oblivious to things going on around him, who takes the stupid for serious. It worked for Leslie Nielsen in "The Naked Gun," and in this case, we've got hotshot pilot Topper (Charlie Sheen), who is recruited into the Navy as a pilot. Sheen takes a lot of pointers from Nielsen's dry slapstick; he is no Jerry Lewis, he is a man with serious expressions who is in the center of bad happenings. His arch-nemesis (played by "The Princess Bride's" Cary Elwes) is the Val Kilmer of this movie. In one scene, Elwes reveals that his father's death was caused, in part, by Sheen's father. Their fathers were both flying together when their plane started to go down; Sheen's father ejected, Elwes' messed up his ejection and crash-landed the plane, only to get shot by hunters mistaking him for a deer.

One of the other men in their squad of fighter pilots reveals that his father was the one who shot Elwes's dad. "It's okay, anybody could make that mistake--but it's all his fault," Elwes says, pointing at Sheen.

The humor works, and Sheen is funny, but he is no Leslie Nielsen, and the film is no "Naked Gun." This movie is more of a "Naked Top Gun." The humor is there, but the quality isn't as much as "Airplane!" or "Naked Gun," making "Hot Shots!" worth a rental but not a purchase.
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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