Hot Shots! (1991)

(Second or third viewing, On DVD, October 2017) I first saw Hot Shots! as a teenager before seeing Top Gun, which may have coloured my perceptions of the so-called serious movie. But having recently seen Top Gun in its entirety makes a re-watch of Hot Shots! even funnier. This spoof, is the pure ZAZ lineage, relies a lot on deadpan jokes and actors playing ridiculous material as seriously as possible. Peak-era Charlie Sheen makes for a credible mixture of action-hero looks and comic timing, while Valeria Golino is both spectacular and hilarious as the obligatory (but not perfunctory) love interest—female roles in spoof comedies rarely get as good a character as she does here. While Hot Shots! is focused on Top Gun, it does have time to indulge in broader gags and isn’t content (as with many worse recent spoof movies) simply running through the original plot with extra slapstick and pop-culture references. As a result, Hot Shots! has aged well, even for those who haven’t watched Top Gun recently. In fact, it may even have appreciated slightly since its release given that the bottom has fallen out of the comedy subgenre. A competent spoof upon release, Hot Shots! now stands as a remarkably funny film today.

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