Director: Sean McNamara | Script: Brian Egeston | Cast: Dennis Quaid (Doug White), Heather Graham (Terri White), Jesse Metcalfe (Karl Sorenson), Abigail Rhyne (Bailey White), Jessi Case (Maggie White), Brett Rice (Jeff White), Rocky Myers (Dan Favio), Selena Anduze (Lisa Grimm), ea | Time to play: 102 minutes | Year: 2023
There are those movies that manage to arouse a feeling of indescribable cynicism almost from the first second. That they are so transparent in the approach to the story, the introduction and placement of the characters and the schematic structure that they make you laugh. Many filmmakers try to cover this up by pretending that everything is based on true events.
The slightly older generations already know that the latter is no guarantee of quality, as evidenced by the maligned subgenre of Wednesday night true drama that the RTL4 channel presented to the viewer for years. This kind of TV movie is, in terms of predictability and writing, what the Bouquet series novel is in print. This is exactly the feeling that On a wing and a prayer calls
Dennis Quaid stars as Doug White, who plays the local pharmacist and Good Samaritan in a small Louisiana town. In the opening scene, we see that Doug is not good at everything. He fails to land a small Cessna safely. Doug is a talented grillman who distributes his ribs to the homeless after winning a competition.
Doug is also a true family man, and when his brother and best friend suddenly dies, he travels to Florida for the funeral. With his family, consisting of his wife Terri and two annoying teenage daughters. As soon as he boards a small private plane after the ceremony, he already knows what time it is: Doug will be alone on the plane.
In the lead up to this possible plane crash, we find ourselves with three people involved, using only sentimental clichés. A hungover air traffic controller, an overzealous thirteen-year-old simulation pilot obsessed with Amelia Earhart, and a professional pilot with trauma and a communication problem.
The plot elements and characters are so transparent from the start that the disaster that befalls Doug and his family has a hard time taking root. Screenwriter Brian Egeston adds a bit of extra drama and mishaps, whether or not they’re inspired by true events. This is all topped off with a fanciful sauce of close family ties and (super)beliefs. Quaid’s movie wife, Heather Graham, warns him in a genuine southern drawl that he’d better land the plane safely if he ever wants to try his award-winning barbecue sauce again.
For the hilarious excess of disaster, the professional pilot is going to build the controls of the apparatus from his garage. The incident with the disabled King Air 200 occurred on Easter Sunday 2009. Elements of drama and suspense alternate more and more. This is never surprising, but the exciting moments are a welcome change despite the embed in predictability. However, the computer shots of the private plane are as amateurish as Doug’s flying skills. On a wing and a prayer makes an enjoyable comedy for a boring Easter weekend, a pity that it is not intended as such.
On a wing and a prayer can be seen in first video.