Soul Plane

Is it possible to get dumber after watching a movie? If it is, then Soul Plane is probably the movie to do it. The filmmakers probably set out to make this a black version of the classic Airplane!, however when they changed the skin color of most of the characters, they forgot to add a funny script. The result is a series of old stereotypes, enough to set the entire civil rights movement back a few years. Everything starts when Nashawn Williams (Kevin Hart, Along Came Polly, Scary Movie 3) uses a $100 million dollar settlement to start NWA Airlines (get it?), where African Americans can fly in style. They fly out of Terminal (Malcolm) X, and the plane is a pimped out purple monster with hydraulics. The plane has a dance floor, plasma screens, bus lockers instead of overhead bins, a "lower class" section, and serves fried chicken.

Now if Bo Zenga (Body Waves) and Chuck Wilson had humor in their script, it might be okay to forgive many of Soul Plane's mistakes. They don't. The story is a bunch of half-hearted sight gags and running jokes, raunchy bathroom humor, drug and sex jokes. Snoop Dogg (Starsky & Hutch, Malibu's Most Wanted) is the high flying (in more ways than one) captain, John Witherspoon (Friday After Next, Dr. Dolittle 2) is a horny blind man, D.L. Hughley (Scary Movie 3, Chasing Papi) is the bathroom attendant, and Sofia Vergara (Chasing Papi, Big Trouble) is one of a few scantily clad flight attendants. It's the inaugural flight, and stuck with the all-black customers is the Hunkee (get it?) family, led by clueless father Elvis (Cradle 2 the Grave, Hansel & Gretel), black-man craving girlfriend Barbara (Missi Pyle, 50 First Dates, Along Came Polly), jailbait daughter (Arielle Kebbel, The Bros.) and ebonics-speaking son (Ryan Pinkston, Bad Santa, Spy-Kids 3-D). Also along for the ride are some overly friendly security guards, a pair of exhibitionists, and, for no good reason, Nashawn's ex-girlfriend (K.D. Aubert, Hollywood Homicide, Friday After Next).

It's a very bad sign when Arnold is one of the best actors in the cast. This is the first movie for director Jessy Terrrero, who has a background in music videos. His skills are apparent in the scenes in the club, where a few musicians make cameo appearances, but this is just one small ray of hope in an otherwise dull film. Instead of coming up with a cohesive story, the script is content to set up joke after joke, hoping for quick payoffs that never happen. Instead, one gets an endless parade of lowbrow humor directed against blacks, whites, gays, dogs, whatever. It gets old pretty fast. If there were some sort of tangible story, it may take a lot of the focus away from the off-color humor, which typically works better as a complement to a plot, rather than a substitute. The worst thing about Soul Plane is that it is not enjoyable. It is simply lame.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 27 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, language, and some drug use.

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