review for Top Secret! on AllMovie

Top Secret! (1984)
by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. review

While critically less admired than Airplane! (1980), Top Secret! (1984) nonetheless proved a successful follow-up for the team of Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker. As with the previous movie, the directors continued to develop a new kind of comedy for the '80s. Top Secret!'s zaniness owed more to a Marx Brothers' classic like Monkey Business (1931) or a free-for-all like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) than its contemporaries, leaving aside such niceties as plot resolutions and character development. While some reviewers complained about the nonexistence of the plot, Roger Ebert pointed out that "One does not attend movies like Top Secret! in order to follow the story line." Critics enjoyed Val Kilmer's unlikely -- in retrospect -- acting debut. Playing an outdated hero with aplomb, he is aptly matched by the deadpan innocence of Shakespearian actor Lucy Gutteridge. The Zuckers and Abrahams would continue to explore anarchic comedy in later films like The Naked Gun (1988) and Hot Shots! (1991).