Sunday, January 17, 2010

Capsule Review: Airplane! (1980)

Striking a unique (and often imitated) balance of farce, parody and general insanity first explored in their earlier The Kentucky Fried Movie, the team of David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams created their masterpiece with this disaster spoof. Taking the basic plot – and a surprising amount of dialogue – from the 1957 plane-in-peril film Zero Hour, the three tailor the story to their gag-a-minute style thanks to a game cast who manage to remain deadpan in the middle of chaos. Most impressive is Leslie Nielson, who reinvents himself as an oblivious straight man –leading to a second career in similar comedies. A timeless comedy (despite a few dated pop culture references) which puts most of its imitators to shame.

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