Picks and Pans Review: Top Secret

updated 07/02/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/02/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Airplane! was filled with dumb jokes, yes. But it was filled so full of them that it seemed a work of comic genius. Once it got you laughing, it didn't let you go. Top Secret, by the same filmmakers—Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker—never grabs a viewer. If Airplane! had a laugh a second, Top Secret has one an hour. It is about some fascist-communist (ideology doesn't matter much in comedy) East Germans who want to reunite their fatherland and then, one presumes, take over the world. All that stands in their way is a singing, skeet-shooting surfer, played by Val Kilmer, whose biggest previous role was Cher's real-life boyfriend. Kilmer comes to East Germany and falls in love with Lucy Gutteridge, an imprisoned professor's daughter. (That does sound almost bad enough to be good.) There are a few good sight gags too (muscle men in drag playing East German women athletes, for instance) but not nearly enough. If Top Secret were edited to its proper length, it might be okay, but who wants to pay $4 or $5 for a one-minute movie? (PG)

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