To judge Soul Plane on its film making merits would be a total waste of time. This is clearly a film that is out to get only one thing: laughs. It will use any stereotype, any bizarre situation, and any bathroom humor to do so. Surprisingly enough (in fact, I am shocked), this film gets a lot of laughs.
We meet Nashawn (Hart) at the beginning of the film, and are informed of his lifelong love for airplanes. After an unfortunate accident involving his hindquarters being sucked to a toilet and his dog being sucked into an airplane engine, Nashawn gets $100 million in the court settlement. Using the money, he starts his own airline called NWA.
NWA’s section of the airport terminal is essentially an amusement park, and the plane itself has to be seen to be believed. Complete with hydraulics, the plane bounces to takeoff.
That about does it for the story, as the remainder of the film is reserved for sight gags, gross out humor, and two people who are looking to join the Mile High Club three times over.
We meet our main characters: Mr. Hunkee (Arnold) and his family have been bumped from another flight to this one (they stand as the only White people on the flight), Muggsy (Method Man), Nashawn’s right hand man, Captain Mack (Snoop Dogg), the inexperienced pilot who admits that he is afraid of heights, as well as Gaeman (Godfrey), who lives up to his name. There are assorted other bizarre characters who serve as placeholders for the comedy.
The plane itself has a few different sections ranging from completely pimped out to the low class section, which has twenty-five cent overhead compartments and a completely broke television. Upstairs is a club, with full bar and a bouncer. Now this is the way to fly right!
The real Achilles Heal to this film is Snoop Dogg, who in my opinion is hilarious standing still. Here he is given the funniest role in the film, and runs with it. But then again, playing a weed-smoking scared pilot may not be too much of a stretch for Snoop. He is worth the price of admission alone.
The rest of the cast is adequate, with Arnold playing the naive father to a daughter who has just turned eighteen. His trademark dry humor is in full swing, and I found myself laughing with him, rather than at him like most usually do.
Some will inevitably be offended by the films use of stereotypes involving just about every race on this planet. My advice: Lighten up! This is all played for comedy, and more often than not it works. Caucasians, African Americans, Arabs; no one is safe!
Soul Plane works better than most will assume because it doesn’t try to be any more than it knows it is. The film is incredibly stupid, but the humor works because it knows it is over-the-top. Sure there are jokes that fall flat, bad acting, and even some lousy effects, but Soul Plane nourished my appetite for a dumb comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Length: 86 Minutes
Rating: R for strong sexual content, language, and some drug use.
Theatrical Release: May 28, 2004
Directed by: Jessy Terrero
Written by: Bo Zenga & Chuck Wilson.
Cast: Tom Arnold, Kevin Hart, Method Man, Snoop Dogg, K.D. Aubert, Godfrey