Watch multiple times to catch every joke
"Ted Striker" (Robert Hays) has tracked down his ex-girlfriend "Elaine Dickinson" (Julie Hagerty) to the airport she works out of, and purchases a ticket on her flight to talk to her despite having a fear of flying since flying in the war. While on board to talk to "Elaine", the flight crew, and some passengers, come down with a very serious case of food poisoning, and he has to conquer his fear very quickly to safely land the airplane with the help of his former superior officer who is talking him down from Chicago Air Traffic Control.
Airplane! is one of the craziest movies you will ever see. There are way too many sight gags, slapsticK and funny one-liners in the film, which will require that you watch it over and over and over again.
The all-star cast is hilariously fantastic, and somehow manages to play all their parts straight-faced despite the jokes that are just flying out of their mouths and around them. Leslie Neilsen stands out of the crowd with the ability to make his character, "Dr. Rumack", appear as a character in a more serious motion picture. Without giving too much away, you will see a lot of performers you would think would stay away from such an absurd movie such as this one.
A word of warning, or maybe a few, Airplane! does not give the audience a rest between jokes. Some jokes work, some jokes don't -- and some jokes are so outdated that only those old enough to remember what was going on when the movie was released will laugh. The jokes are very clean, with just a pinch of more adult-oriented humor, which is on-screen very briefly.
The plot is forgettable, thanks to the jokes that just don't seem to stop. It's there though, but you will be laughing enough to not even care about the story the film is telling.
The visuals, and there are a lot of them, are mostly sight gags. However, you can easily tell that shots of the doomed airplane in-flight is a model. However, the model (or models) are shot in a way to make it appear to be a full-scale airplane.
Like I said earlier, the cast is fantastic at playing their characters. None of the performances are intentionally way over-the-top, despite the movie being that way. There are some members of the supporting cast I think could have been used a little more, but they do help advance the storyline quite nicely.
There are lots of references to movies this movie is spoofing. So, if you have never seen any of the airplane in danger movies that came out before Airplane!, you might not catch them. However, two classic movies that are referenced are very well known, and you will recognize them right off.
In my opinion, Airplane! would be not just a "Must See" movie rental, but a fantastic addition to your video/DVD collection.
And one more thing -- "Stop calling me 'Shirley.'"