Soul Plane
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Jessy Terrero
scr Bo Zenga, Chuck Wilson
with Kevin Hart, Tom Arnold, Method Man, Snoop Dogg, KD Aubert, Godfrey, Brian Hooks, DL Hughley, Mo'Nique, Loni Love, John Witherspoon, Gary Anthony Williams, Missi Pyle, Arielle Kebbel, Ryan Pinkston, Sofia Vergara
release US 28.May.04, UK 27.Aug.04
US/04 1h26

"I speak honky!" Hart, Arnold, Pyle and Pinkston

arnold snoop pyle
Soul Plane Support Shadows: Buy a Poster
Essentially an urban remake of Airplane!, there's potential here, but the filmmakers never use it. The story centres on Nashawn (Hart), a young guy who makes his fortune after a lawsuit against an airline and then uses the money to start NWA Airlines with a goal to party in the air. But on the maiden flight almost everything imaginable goes wrong, from his cousin (Method Man) hiring an inexperienced stoner pilot (Snoop Dogg) to the fact that his ex-girlfriend appears on the passenger list. And as the party gets off the ground, his dream looks doomed before it even begins.

There are a few moments in which you get a glimpse of the astute comedy that coulda been--gags that are sweet (the baby Nashawn growing up in the LAX flight path), sharp (the pimp-mobile design of the plane and flight attendant uniforms) and knowing (the coin-operated lockers in "low class"). Sadly these are just too sparse to keep the film afloat. The rest of the script features cheap, obvious gags centred on sex or the toilet--and not enough of those either. There's no attempt to develop the story or characters either logically or comedically. It's like the filmmakers thought that with a constant stream of jokes, nothing else matters. But without a story or characters, the jokes just aren't funny.

The cast try valiantly though! Hart is in the thankless good-guy role, bouncing around frenetically without anything funny of his own. The one white family on board (Arnold, Pyle, Kebbel and Pinkston) provide a goofy series of ethnic jokes that are basically a variation on Airplane's "I speak Jive" gag. Mo'Nique and Love are hysterically out of control as the sassy security officers. But this is only the broader edge of a sniggering style of humour that might have seemed funny in theory, but virtually nothing sparks on screen. And there's not really any excuse in a film with this much potential.

cert 18 themes, language, vulgarity, sex, drugs 2.Aug.04

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2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall