Critic Reviews



Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Boston Globe
It starts with a flyboy roasting franks in the exhaust of a combat jet and never lets up, giddily puncturing all those wartime flying hero movies and throwing in a heap of movie parodies besides. Either way, the pacing is jetstreamed and the level of inventiveness is sky-high. [31 July 1991, p.25]
Hot Shots! offers a satisfying kick in the pants to a movie (and an era) that has more than earned it.
Charlie Sheen brings just the right exaggerated seriousness to his ace pilot's role, and Cary Elwes perfectly captures the ingenue arrogance of Topper's handsome rival. Jon Cryer, as a pilot with major eyesight problems, also displays expert deadpan timing, especially when he delivers the film's most uproarious line.
Hot Shots! is very sharp and very funny, and if it doesn't have the aggressive, anarchic edge of "Airplane!" (attitude seems to be the specialty of David Zucker, who has just released "The Naked Gun 2 1/2 "), it is consistently, almost exhaustingly hilarious.
Funny as it is for a great deal of its length, Hot Shots! does, however, have its share of dull spots, and watching it inevitably makes one yearn for the good old days of "Airplane!"
While the slapstick comedy antics are frequently amusing and, on rare occasions, even hilarious, HOT SHOTS!, like so many other cinematic parodies before it, tends to lose sight--or control--of the plot, such as it is, in favor of more jokes, more visual gags and more dialogue puns--all hurled at the audience at a rapid-fire pace.
Unfortunately, the film begins to fall apart when it leaves film parody and strays too close to reality. This film is so timely, it has the young pilots flying a bombing run on Saddam Hussein's nuclear plant. Either these filmmakers were lucky, or they made it last week. It almost seems as if the latter is true, because Hot Shots handling of Middle Eastern bad guys is just a little too heavy handed -- no, make that insulting and insensitive.
Washington Post
The movie's nowhere near the inspired funniness of its predecessors. But it often displays the same spirit. It's strung end to end with sight gags. Some fall flat on their faces. But, by sheer weight of numbers, many of them work. It depends on your ability to lower yourself into -- or steer stoically clear of -- the idiocy pit.
Miami Herald
Hot Shots isn't quite that bad, but given the material -- the military mind is certainly, in military parlance, a target-rich environment -- it ought to be funnier. [31 July 1991, p.D1]
Given that this is the first whacky comedy to come out of the Gulf War it’s a shame the whole enterprise isn’t a lot more tasteless, but the half-funny goings-on give that the script has been tailored not to offend a military machine on the point of massive war, perhaps at the expense of unpatriotic laughs. That said, it’s a pleasant enough time-waster, and doesn’t drag on too long.

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