About five years ago, I watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I did not like it. This year, I decided to watch another “classic” comedy film which also involves planes that I often get confused for the former title: Airplane!. My wish for today was something goofy and light-hearted. This ended up being just that.
Not gonna be a substantial post today. While there could be much said about the style of comedy employed, I’m not in a fervorous writing mood today.
“Alcoholic pilot, Ted Striker has developed a fear of flying due to wartime trauma, but nevertheless boards a passenger jet in an attempt to woo back his stewardess girlfriend. Food poisoning decimates the passengers and crew, leaving it up to Striker to land the plane with the help of a glue-sniffing air traffic controller and Striker’s vengeful former Air Force captain, who must both talk him down.”
Actual (Short) Review
Really didn’t believe I would find much to laugh at with this. Mainstream (I guess) comedies are already at odds with my general sense of humor. Then you go back to an era where things were a little more… outlandish? There was a definite intrigue to seeing this play out, but also some hesitation.
It’s actually pretty funny. It’s actually pretty funny.
Granted, not every joke lands. There are some various things in here that I had hoped wouldn’t be the entire movie. Toilet humor, sex jokes, and random depravity were included to some extent, yet there were also a good variety of visual gags and wordplay. Wordplay! I love wordplay jokes; not enough comedies do that. Right from the very first scene, one line took me offguard:
“Oh really, Vernon? Why pretend, we both know perfectly well what this is about. You want me to have an abortion.”
Instantly guffawed at the sheer bluntness of it. There are a few times where some darker humor gets thrown in that really got to me. Its edginess is used sparingly, though often to great effect. It was then that I strapped myself in; it was gonna be one of those movies.
As others have noted, this film is rated PG, yet it shows exposed breasts, people swear, and a decent amount of sex/violence jokes. An old lady at one point snorts cocaine. A panicking woman gets repeatedly slapped by multiple people, with a line of people threatening progressively more violent methods. One character has to blow up an “autopilot” doll and the plug is located below its belt—they both smoke a cigarette the scene following.
Jokes are thrown out a mile a minute. Gags come and go with breakneck speed, and sometimes one can’t keep up. I somewhat preferred this, though. Keeps the potential for funny jokes alive as those that aren’t as funny run their course. Laughs actually occurred a few times while watching this, along with some more than occasional smirks at the cleverness of spoken lines. As far as classic comedies go, this one just about earns its status.
Decently funny, which means it’s probably hysterical to the common person. Would definitely recommend giving it a go if you enjoy spoof comedy films. This is something that, upon realization while watching it, has been ripped off to death in following decades. See the progenitor to all those lesser versions!
Final Score: 7/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
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Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.