“I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley”, one of the many great lines in the hilarious cult comedy Airplane!. Even after almost forty years since its release, few parodies have lived up to it.
Airplane! is basically a spoof disaster movie on a plane. When the diverse passengers of a 747 take ill due to some bad fish, it is up to a no nonsense doctor and a former air force pilot to land the plane safely.
The cast of Airplane! (including such people as Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hays, and Julie Hagerty) are delightfully talented and funny. They all somehow manage to play such straight faced characters among the many humorous puns and visual gags.
Airplane! is surprisingly energetic when it comes to firing off jokes rapidly. Ever few seconds or so there is another one-off joke involving word play that almost always gets a laugh. There is also some of the best racial and perverse humor I’ve seen executed in a film. One of my favorite scenes in Airplane! involves two black men who speak in jive, very funny.
Airplane! brings us back to an era when parody movies were not frowned upon as a lesser form of entertainment. Unfortunately the days of Airplane! and Mel Brooks style parody are long gone. Airplane! is one of the best parodies of the eighties, and I’m sure it will continue to be adored by fans for years to come.
The Verdict: A-