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"Soul Plane"

Directed by Jessy Terrero.
Written by Bo Zenga and Chuck Wilson.
Starring Kevin Hart, Tom Arnold, Method Man and Snoop Dogg.
Release Year:  2004 
Review Date:  6/1/04


I was coming in kind of hoping for a black version of "Airplane!", but instead, I got another in a long list of shitty films released in the two-double-oh-four.

It's tough to even pick a starting point, but after Andy "Moneyball" Kellam and I left the theater on Memorial Day following our matinee, we can recommend two things about "Soul Plane":

  1. The parade of ridiculously hot women in "Soul Plane" is long, and I mean, 767-Boeing-long.

  2. The Soul Plane itself is hilarious.  From its class system to its club level, the Plane is good times.  In "Low Class" (Coach), it's essentially the apartment from "Good Times", complete with ghetto-style accoutrements (no video monitors, just cheap-ass TVs with rabbit ears that don't work) and projects-style dining, as stewardesses tell passengers to take one piece of fried chicken from the box, pass it on...but, share the napkins with at least one other person, 'cause we ain't got many of dem to go 'round, hear??

Otherwise, this film is fucking dogshit.  Kevin Hart stars as Nashawn, a guy that wins a big court case against another major airline when the film opens and decides to use the money to start his own airline, one that caters more to the members of Chocolate City, if you catch my drift.  When he finally gets the airline up to snuff, his cousin Muggs (Method Man) hires a, well, "pilot" named Captain Mack (Snoop Dogg) that doesn't really know how to fly, and a bunch of aviation staff that looks good, even if they don't know too much about how to do their jobs in flight.  A white family that is rerouted to this new soulful airline, led by Elvis Honkee (Tom Arnold), gets the ride of their life after boarding this sham of an airline too.

All of it is a mess, mostly because "Soul Plane" isn't funny, and that was all I wanted in the first place.  Save for some token laughs (and of course, "token" laughs), and a great scene where Honkee's daughter explains to him why it's nice to be able to start having sex (this movie even throws in a pearl necklace joke; wow), the laughs come few and fewer and then far between.  Director Jessy Terrero--is it enough to say that no man should ever spell Jesse "Jessy"?--somehow makes both Snoop Dogg and Meth UNFUNNY; at times, Tom Arnold is the only game in town, which with this cast is somewhat of a surprise.  Even the normally funny Mo'Nique is just annoying in "Soul Plane"; she adds nothing to her resumé with this horseshit, and I blame either the script or a lack of improvisation on why she goes down in flames with this film, too.

Hart--who, at times, seems to stand no taller than five feet tall, tough for a romantic lead, eh?--is by far the worst actor in the film, and one wonders in every scene where the filmmakers found this guy.  There's supposedly a romantic angle in this film, very reminiscent of the awkward-yet-hilarious romance happening in "Airplane!" but with none of the humor and none of the fact, I'm still not really sure why the Hart character and his flame (K.D. Aubert) ever broke it off in the first place...something about college, and dreams, and her dad, and I don't give a shit.

This was very, VERY close to Hard Vice status, but there are a couple of chuckles and a Lil' John cameo that are worthwhile.  Just don't get your hopes up.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09