Projections - Movie Reviews

Soul Plane

A limp excuse of a comedy, Soul Plane is a raunchy, crude urban spoof of Airplane that takes a lot more than hip out of hip-hop.

Immersed in another film with black stars is the hapless, typecast Tom Arnold (Cradle 2 The Grave) who plays a single father of two named Elvis Hunkee. It may be a while before he gets involved in another project like True Lies.

Hunkee and his family, along with “girlfriend” Barbara, a daffy Missy Pyle, gets drawn onto the metallic purple chrome-colored plane owned by Nashawn Wade, comic Kevin Heart, sounding a lot like Chris Tucker. Nashawn’s NWA is the apparently the only airline that can take the Hunkee clan to New York City from LAX.

How Nashawn gets his luxurious, one of a kind airliner off the ground from an unlikely, huge settlement describes the fate of Soul Plane, an elongated music video, feeling like its on the hydraulics and spinning wheels unfolding in humiliating irreverence.

It’s not like music video director Jessy Terrero has nothing to say about contemporary black culture. But the “jive talking” in Airplane! tapped with more flair into the satirical zaniness of the ZAZ vision than the haphazard gangs from a story that may have read more hysterically than it ends up on the big screen.

There is plenty of sass and eye candy on the screen as Terrero works diligently with production designer Robb Buono in catering to hip-hop stars like Method Man and Snoop Dogg (Starsky & Hutch), as well as more stand-up-artists like D.L. Hughley and Mo’Nique. Mo’Nique’s sharp-tongued security attendant, Jamiqua, makes sure the right people are thoroughly searched while in conversation with home girl Shanience (Loni Love). Hughley is the cigar-chomping dapper bathroom attendant poised to help a backed-up Hunkee and a very libidinous couple.

More time went into the interior look of the plane with high-tech cockpit, swank first class, and subway-like “low” class with plenty of Colt 45 to go around. Soul Plane appears to have a cool chauffeur in Dogg’s Captain Mack hired by Method Man’s Muggsy, Nashawn’s cousin. But even his character, though sounding very soothing, underlines the impersonal, amateurish nature of the material. In a way, he mushrooms out, disengaging as the film flies unsteadily on autopilot.

In the end, like one of the characters, a one-note comedy is stripped down to little more than lame commercialism with shots at Osama Bin Laden, Michael Jackson and priests, not the kind of punch lines that work.

Soul Plane

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