Soul Plane isn’t as bad as you think it’s going to be, but not nearly as good as it could have been. It’s a case study in wasted talent, but it does serve as an introduction to some actors that would go on to do some much better work. Soul Plane wants to be Airplane but it doesn’t have the wit and relies far too heavily on sex, bathroom jokes, and stereotypes to offer any lasting value. What is does give us is a few funny moments and a hint at what these actors can be capable of when given better material.
I suppose Soul Plane’s biggest accomplishment is its ability to stuff as many racial stereotypes into one movie as possible. No race or gender is safe from the filmmaker’s version of comedy, but the intriguing thing is that no matter how many racial jabs are thrown they all land softly because the film never takes anything seriously. The plot concerns Nashawn (Kevin Hart) when he accidentally gets stuck in an airplane toilet and is awarded 100 million dollars in a lawsuit and decides that he is going to start his own airline. I’m not sure of any actual numbers, but 100 million dollars doesn’t seem like enough money to start an airline, let alone buy a two level airplane complete with spinners and the ability to bounce down the runway. Logic be damned. This isn’t that kind of movie. This is the kind of movie where Snoop Dogg plays a pilot who’s scared of heights.
There’s no point in trying to apply logic or criticism to a film like Soul Plane. It’s as futile as studying historical inaccuracies in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Soul Plane isn’t in the same class as Monty Python, but they are playing the same game. They’re both absurdist spoofs, but the difference is that Monty Python was continuously inventive. Soul Plane is content to take the easiest joke and be ok with that. Taken in that context, I’m also ok with Soul Plane. This is not a good film and you will forget it exists almost immediately after seeing it, but it is entertaining enough to act as a comedic diversion for an hour and a half. It’s also worth it to see some early attempts from future stars such as Kevin Hart, Sofia Vergera, Mo’Nique, and Terry Crews. Final verdict: if you’re desperate for a comedy and you are running low on your Netflix queue, you can do worse than Soul Plane. Grade: C-