Once again, I find myself running out of time. I’m writing this way later than I should be and rushing to get it finished. It doesn’t help that I really don’t know what to say about this film. Sometimes you can watch/read something and it just doesn’t leave much of an impression either way. It’s not so horrendous that you can rant about it or so good that you’re gushing praise. This is a film that I first watched at university a long time ago. It was really hyped up beforehand, so it never really lived up. It’s not one that I rewatch very often but I will give it a go every now and then. This seemed like a good week to do so.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Top Gun isn’t actually a parody film. It’s such a ridiculous thing that I have to remind myself that it was made to be a serious film. Yes, even the scenes starring Meg Ryan’s character were made earnestly. So, Hot Shots! was already starting off on pretty solid ground when it decided to spoof the Tom Cruise film. The fact that it was also written and directed by Jim Abrahams is just a guarantee that the film was always going to be full of silliness. It’s the kind of silliness that I can never really decide if I like or not. There are some moments of absolute genius and others that just seem forced. I guess that’s what comes from throwing as many jokes at something as possible. Some of them will land but a lot won’t.
It’s not as if there is nothing to enjoy about this film. It is a light-hearted and outrageous spoof. I always enjoy a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and this is certainly one of these films. I guess it doesn’t have the same spirit as Airplane! and, though he’s a great choice, Lloyd Bridges isn’t quite up to Leslie Nielsen’s previous standards. I guess the problem here is that Hot Shots! doesn’t feel as clever or daring as Airplane! It is a spoof military film but it never wants to risk going anti-military. Meaning it feels a bit safe in certain sections.
Still, it’s a pretty decent way to waste time. Watching it now is a little bittersweet. Seeing Charlie Sheen in his heyday only makes what happened to him all the more upsetting. He has such good comedic timing and is so willing to make a fool of himself. Something that makes this film so much better than it could have been. Something that makes this so watchable despite how many times I question my decision to watch it. I don’t think that Hot Shots! is quite the classic that Airplane! is but I guess it’s not that bad. The film parodies aren’t exactly clever and there is no real attempt to do anything daring. Although, that’s probably not a bad thing. This is a film that is meant to be silly and it certainly is.