It’s time to review what is considered to be one of the funniest films of all time. Some even call it The funniest of all time. I can safely say that it lives up to the reputation and I actually would agree with the title. Of course, in a film with so many jokes, there are obviously ones that fall flat and others that are crude/annoying. Fortunately, the positive ones outweigh the negatives and this is definitely a film that I’d recommend checking out.
The film starts off with a cab driver named Ted. He’s hit a rough patch in life since he got traumatized by the war and his friends don’t respect him anymore. He decides to stop moping though and gets on a plane that his former friend Elaine is on so they can reconnect. She is less than thrilled about this, but has no time for him. The plane has been stocked with poisoned food that is causing everyone to hatch eggs. She must now think quickly or the plane is going to crash and everyone aboard will die. There’s also a mad bomber to think about along with a suicidal person, a lady wit a gun, a shifty guy with a crowbar, and more. Fortunately, the world’s greatest pilot has been called out of retirement to help guide them down but can he pull it off?
Airplane is one of those films that has dozens of gags a minute. Something is always happening. While there is one obvious joke going, there are always a few subtle ones in the background. The best scene in the film is certainly the pilot’s entrance as he walks in and beats up a bunch of people who were trying to sign him up for their various groups. He wasn’t having any of that and the guy promoting Jehovah’s Witnesses seemed to have gotten punched particularly hard. Needless to say, one of them was wise enough not to approach the pilot. He had a job to do after all. The retired pilot was certainly the best character, he kept everyone on their toes and certainly wasn’t messing around.
Ted wasn’t a bad main character but he’s mostly oblivious to all of the jokes. He doesn’t do anything funny so much as he helps some of the other jokes succeed by existing. I definitely don’t blame Elaine for leaving though since Ted definitely didn’t take the past war situation very well at all. Elaine is a little naive and doesn’t seem to be very smart so I can’t say that she is my kind of character either. Of course, these characters are all meant to be rather incompetent and not very smart to help make the movie funnier. The two characters did a good job in their roles even if they weren’t super likable like the retired pilot.
There are a few other supporting characters. They aren’t notable so much as there jokes can be memorable. One character that fell flat was the guy who would just act random the whole time. He would comment on someone gaining weight and always seemed rather loopy. His jokes never worked. You also had the normal pilot and a basketball player. I liked the Basketball player as his joke worked well.
Now while the jokes were very funny, the humor is also what holds the film back somewhat. We get a pretty iffy scene with the rubber pilot as getting air back into him can be somewhat dicey. The ebonics talk was also a little tricky if you could understand what they were saying as opposed to the sub titles. I can understand it somewhat myself so…yeah. There was also a scene with a dog attacking someone for a little while which could be a little dicey depending on how you look at it. Finally there’s the pilot’s conversation with the kid that was risky. The romance is pretty bad as well. This is intentional, but it doesn’t make it any less bad.
These negatives are fairly mild though so they don’t hurt the film too much. They shave off one star, but that’s all. This is still a film that I’d recommend checking out. There are just too many laughs not to watch it. Before this film, the Cat in the Hat is probably the film that I thought was the funniest and possibly Pixels as a guilty pleasure. I’ve never laughed so hard on the inside during a film before that one, I was shaking in my seat. I dunno, Sandler is like a movie that’s so bad it’s good. The writing wasn’t good, but it was funny. The two don’t necessarily have to be connected.
There isn’t really much of a soundtrack in this film but some nice themes do appear as jokes. I believe the Jaws theme may have played at one point. They also intentionally used the wrong sound for the plane the whole time which is a pretty nice detail. One of the more underrated scenes that was fun was when the two people over the intercom are arguing about where to leave your stuff in the Airport. It’s very subtle at first and is gradually brought to the forefront by the end of the scene.
Mentioning all of the jokes wouldn’t make for much of a review though so I’ll stop there. It’s more fun to watch the film and find them out for yourself. There’s not much more of a plot or characters to talk about either so this is more of a shorter review. Watch out for the flashback since it adds some more dimensions to the characters and squeezes in a Star Wars reference along the way. As I said, the film is quite clever.
Overall, Airplane is more hit than miss. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you end up not watching it. The film is basically timeless and has aged quite well. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of jokes we get during the film and it’s so unrealistic and unreasonable that it works. I can’t imagine that a sequel/spinoff/prequel could ever hope to match its greatness, but I’d like to see the studio try some more options. We need more good parody films like this one. I wonder if any film will ever surpass this one with humor or if I’ll die with this one still at the top. It’s definitely something to think about.