Picks and Pans Review: Airplane!
From takeoff to landing, this whacked-out parody is a loopy flight of fancy. Fly the flaky skies of “Trans American,” and your ticket for the smoking section is literally smoldering; your coffee, tea or me is served before dinner; and the inflight movie shows a terrible airplane crash. Up in the cockpit, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is moonlighting as the co-pilot, and a plastic Jesus sits reassuringly atop the instrument panel. Among the passengers, a nun reads Boy’s Life, while a boy peruses Nun’s Life. It’s that kind of film, a cheerfully slap-dash send-up of everything from the Airport movies to Jaws to Saturday Night Fever, written and directed by the same team (Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker) that scripted The Kentucky Fried Movie. Not every joke works, to be sure, but they come along with such zingy regularity that it doesn’t much matter. Veterans Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen and Robert Stack get their laughs simply by playing it straight. (PG)