Stars 2

There’s no need to fasten your seat belts for this sluggish exploration of alcoholism which is as dull as listening to the pub bore.

Denzel Washington heads up a strong cast as ‘Whip’ Whitaker, an alcoholic airline pilot who heroically saves the lives of the passengers when his plane crashes.

Taking off with huge energy, there are scenes full of nudity, drugs, booze and a brilliantly staged plane crash that may put you off flying for life.

Who or what can be established as the cause of the crash could mean Whip being charged with manslaughter and possible life imprisonment, not to mention the closing of the airline and loss of jobs.

But what could have been a gripping court procedural film instead descends into a dreary account of Whip’s struggle with the bottle and the eventual courtroom scene is perfunctory at best and a long time coming.

Washington employs his talent and charisma to carry the film and is not afraid to play a character who is an unlikable drunk stumbling to a possible redemption.

John Goodman’s comic performance as drug dealer Mays is like sticking helicopter blades on a 747. It’s ridiculous and spins you off in the wrong direction with a terrible crunching of gears.

Kelly Reilly plays a heroin addict love interest who is ushered in and out of the movie without affecting anyone at all.

There is a dull AA scene and lots of Whip wandering around slurring and occasionally being a bit obnoxious. By the time we get to court we don’t really care what happens to him.

Washington is given some awful lines to do his best with and the final scenes seemed tacked on and are unconvincing.

Far from being a warning of how alcohol ruin’s live, the strongest message here is that apart from making you an ace pilot and so a saver of lives, cocaine is is the ultimate hangover cure.

Don’t try this at home, kids.

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