Airplane! -- AMC Carrollton, Hampton Mall, Jenifer, Laurel Town Center, Loehmann's Plaza, Roth's Montgomery, Roth's Seven Locks, Roth Tysons Corner and Springfield Mall.
It's hard to think who would best appreciate "Airplane!" The preponderance of gradeschool humor makes it seem a natural for the subteen set, but the material is blue enough that children probably shouldn't go -- despite the movie's PG rating. Perhaps what's left are stoned adults, or someone who's just worked two straight shifts and is in the mood for something really silly.
"Airplane!," billed as a disaster-movie spoof (given the genre, it's good that they explained it), begins wittily enough with a shot of the ill-fated plane's tail traveling menacingly back and forth through the clouds, a la "Jaws." Unfortunately, while the filmmakers occasionally stumble onto other successful gags, it's pretty much downhill from there.
As ever, a trio of stalwart pilots (led by a wonderfully restrained Peter Graves) is entrusted with a planeload of idiots -- a nun, a little old lady, a freckle-faced boy, a little girl who needs a heart transplant (she must get to the hospital in six hours and must be kept absolutely calm during the flight, of course), etc. Airport panhandlers, officious security personnel and Barbie-esque flight attendants all come in for their share of ridicule, as do such films as "From Here to Eternity" and a 1950 war movie called "Zero Hour," in addition to "Airport" and other disaster classics.
While some of the humor is inspired -- a disco dance sequence, when the resident thugs in a sleazy bar start to gyrate to the beat of "Saturday Night Fever," is one of the funniest spoofs -- most of the jokes are, to put it kindly, obvious. Smoking tickets are, of course, literally on fire. The airplane captains are named Clarence and Roger, so they get to say things like "You have clearance, Clarence" and "Roger, Roger." The instrument panel turns out to be -- well you get the idea.
All things considered, you're likelier to get more laughs out of the next "straight" disaster movie that comes along. Somehow these things are a lot funnier when they're inadvertent.