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Soul Plane (R) (2004)


Official Site

Director: Jessy Terrero

Producers: Jessy Terrero, David Scott Ruben

Written by: Bo Zenga, Chuck Wilson

Cast: Kevin Hart, Method Man, Tom Arnold, Snoop Dogg, K.D. Aubert, Arielle Kebbel, Ryan Pinkston, Missi Pyle



Pop quiz: What is Soul Plane? A) A low-brow comedy exploiting the differences between black people and white people. B) A hideous hybrid of House Party, Airplane, and Police Academy 4. C) A complete waste of time and money. If you answered A, B, or C, then I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. The correct answer is “all of the above.”

Watching the trailers, I knew this movie was going to be stupid. Sitting in the theater, though, I was praying it would turn out to be a Night At The Roxbury or even Dude, Where’s My Car? stupid. Compared to Soul Plane, though, those movies are hall-of-famers. I think it must have employed every black/white stereotype ever to appear in a Sinbad act: a purple airplane with rims, two attendants with attitudes as big as their waistlines, a nerdy white man in a sweater vest and thick-rimmed glasses. I was just like, “Come on already! This isn’t even beating the dead horse any more—the damn thing is a puddle of glue!” Despite my barely suppressed groans, though, Soul Plane just kept ’em coming. I think I might have swallowed my tongue when it busted out the cowhide-upholstered Texas Airline. Last time I checked, Houston was home to quite a few high-dollar stars, including the illustrious Beyonce. I didn’t see her wearing a cowboy hat at the last awards show.

The plot of Soul Plane is this: When Nashawn Williams (Hart) wins a $100 million settlement against a major airline, the disgruntled passenger decides to start his own airline. His airline, NWA, caters especially to the tastes of the “urban” population, with basketball courts in the terminal, a club on the jet’s upper deck, and cold Colt 45 served in the lower-class section. The only thing that could possibly be missing from this gross stereotype is a rapper or two. Oh, wait, that’s right, Soul Plane has five (or four, if you count the Ying-Yang Twins as one entity). In a parallel but soon to be perpendicular storyline, uber-middle-class Elvis Hunkee (Arnold)—yes, I know—discovers that his flight to New York has been cancelled and that the only airline flying that way in the near future is NWA. He and his gold-digging girlfriend (Pyle), rebellious daughter (Kebbel), and precocious son (Pinkston) soon find themselves immersed in a culture quite contrary to their own and well on their way to learning valuable life lessons.

The problem with Soul Plane (other than everything) is that it’s all been done before. The plot, the idea, the characters—I mean, does anyone ever believe Snoop Dogg is anything other than Snoop Dogg? And why is a white kid spouting ebonics suddenly supposed to be fresh and funny? That schtick is more played out than a banjo in Arkansas. I chuckled at one or two of the movie’s “cultural observances,” but I was mostly disappointed that the writers couldn’t come up with anything more clever than your basic fried-chicken-and-big-you-know-what gags.

I couldn’t even rally enough pity to give this movie a whole star. Soul Plane literally had no redeeming qualities. The characters were shallow and unbelievable, the plot was unoriginal, and the entirety of the thing felt like one big cultural exploitation. I’m not saying it was offensive, just that it was stupid. So so soooo very stupid.

— Emily Younger

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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