EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|AIRPLANE! (directors/writers: Jim Abrahams/David Zucker/Jerry Zucker; screenwriter: Arthur Hailey's teleplay "Flight Into Danger"/from the Zero Hour! screenplay by Hall Bartlett & John C. Champion; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editor: Patrick Kennedy; music: Elmer Bernstein; cast: Robert Hays (Ted Striker), Julie Hagerty (Elaine), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Roger Murdock), Lloyd Bridges (McCroskey), Peter Graves (Capt. Oveur), Leslie Nielsen (Dr. Rumack), Lorna Patterson (Randy), Robert Stack (Rex Kramer), Stephen Stucker (Johnny), Maureen McGovern (Nun), Ethel Merman (Lt. Hurwitz), Frank Ashmore (Victor Basta), Barbara Billingsley (Jive Lady); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Jon Davison/Howard W. Koch; Paramount; 1980)|
hyper spoof of disaster films."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A hyper spoof of disaster
films such as the
Airport series and Zero Hour! (1957), using that
Into Danger" by Arthur Hailey. It
seems like a Mad comic book cartoon, with
overall effect reflects a corny but funny film. It
plays like a TV
but its rapid fire jokes hit home with viewers willing
to let down
their hair for such low-brow broad comedy. The film
commercial hit, that still remains funny despite the
passage of time. It's written
and directed by Jim Abrahams,
David Zucker and Jerry Zucker ("Top Secret!/"Ruthless
Ted Striker (Robert Hays) is a former Air Force pilot
flying errors caused the deaths of seven men in his
squadron, and the
guilt-ridden pilot has since become damaged goods (a
nervous wreck and
an alcoholic) not able to fly again or hold down a
long-suffering stewardess girlfriend,
(Julie Hagerty), breaks up with him and says she won't
return to LA on
her flight. Ted buys a ticket on her Chicago flight in
order to talk
her into staying with him.
Disaster is afoot for the flight when the bad fish served leads to a severe case of food poisoning among some of the passengers and also strikes the entire flight crew: pilot (Peter Graves), the co-pilot (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Laker basketball star) and the navigator (Frank Ashmore). Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), treating the poison victims, takes charge and talks Striker into flying the plane with 'a win one for the Gipper speech.' At the Chicago airport, the air traffic control chief McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges) and ace commercial pilot, Kramer (Robert Stack), communicate with Striker on how to land the plane. Kramer and Striker hate each other from the war where they served together in the same unit, but work together in the emergency as Kramer guides Striker in for a safe landing in a comically deadpan manner.
Filled with disaster movie cliches and some gags that hit a home-run (like a hospitalized Lt. Hurwitz who thinks he's Ethel Merman, a passenger who asks for "light reading" and is given a leaflet titled "Famous Jewish Sports Legends," and an elderly white lady who translates black jive for two young black passengers to communicate with the stewardess). As a result, the spoof lands with enough jokes to make the comedy passable fare.
REVIEWED ON 8/17/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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