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Hot Shots! Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Daffy flight with the Airplane! crew; some crudeness.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this broad spoof of Top Gun and other Hollywood fare includes some raunchy material, primarily a takeoff on the kinky sex-foreplay scenes from the erotic drama 9 1/2 Weeks (there's no nudity here, though). Off-color verbal humor includes a proverb that involves incest, a joke about “balls,” and scattered swearing with the f-word (in a printed subtitle), the s-word, and assorted "hells," "damns," etc. Violence is very cartoonish and unrealistic, the level of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, practically.

  • Families can talk about the appeal of parodies. Ask kids if they like them better than more conventional comedies with real characters and original beginnings, middles, and endings.
  • Point out how the filmmakers used actors who would usually be imagined as stalwart heroes. How would Hot Shots! have worked with a more traditional funnyman, such as Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler?
  • Discuss the other movies spoofed in Hot Shots! You can use this film to inspire kids to watch some of non-Top Gun flyboy melodramas and tragedies of yesteryear (meant to be taken very seriously) like Only Angels Have Wings and Twelve O'Clock High.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Evil-businessman subplot about greedy American defense contractors plotting deadly sabotage to US planes to increase their own profits, and how a Navy official (briefly) goes along with the scheme. It's so lost in the gags you might not even notice it's there. Enemy pilots are apparently Iraqi and have stereotypical Arabic attributes.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Not much character development in a parody in which protagonists are all mockeries of movie stereotypes and Hollywood heroism, with a recurring theme being the undermining of the "macho" pilots in Top Gun. As in the target Tom Cruise movie, the leading man and the leading lady have premarital sex. By and large, the sense is that military-service movies -- rather than the military values themselves -- are being mocked.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Silly slapstick, practically like a cartoon (at one point Topper gets electrocuted and you see an animated skeleton). An ill-fated pilot nicknamed "Dead Meat" suffers a series of comical catastrophes (including being hit by an ambulance) that result in his death. A barroom brawl (unrealistic and jokey), plane crashes, men set on fire.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Girls clad in underwear or lingerie. A piano player looks up the skirt of the sexy heroine. Double-entendre dirty jokes, a vulgar proverb about family incest. A warplane called the "Phallus." A lengthy scene (parodying the racy drama 9 1/2 Weeks) in which the unmarried hero and heroine use food as foreplay prior to having sex (itself not shown).

  • language false3

    Language: The f-word once, in a subtitle. God's name in vain, the s-word a few times. "Crap," "hell," "piss," "ass."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Honda motorcycles, references to Disneyland. Tacit references to other (often R-rated) movies such as 9 1/2 Weeks and The Godfather.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A bar riot erupts at a call of "free beer." Comedic inhaling of helium to create high voices.