"Yeah, it's disposable junk. But it's frequently funny junk, too."
Does a movie become recommendable just because it's "not nearly as awful as I expected it to be"? I'd say probably not, but the bottom line is this: if you laughed at the trailers for "Soul Plane", or if you were in any way actively looking forward to the movie, odds are it'll show you a good time. It's by no means a unique or brilliant comedy, but the yuks are there. I only got 5 or 6, but the fans of this material will undoubtedly find more.First off, forget all those Airplane! comparisons. Airplane! is a brilliantly crafted and multi-layered parody of legendary proportions. It's a satire. It mocks convention.
Soul Plane does not mock convention. It, as a matter of fact, IS conventional comedy fare. It just happens to be a comedy that's set almost exclusively on an airplane.
The plot sees an affable young goofball who earns a huge cash settlement following a humiliating assault in an airliner lavatory. Logically, the guy opens his very OWN airline, one that caters to an almost exclusively black clientele and aims to put the fun back into flying. I mean... it's not every airline that offers a casino, a disco and a cockfight. All I usually get is a bag of nuts.
Alternately poking fun at and adhering to the myriad African-American stereotypes, Soul Plane swings far and wide with the comedy schtick. Many of the gags earn response through simple shock valie; (very) few display some actual wit. On the plus side, the simplistic material is delivered by a surprisingly colorful cast. Snoop Dogg seems to be settling into a mild groove with his comedic turns (between this and his Starsky and Hutch performance, the guy's having himself a good year), and against all odds - Tom Arnold earns some solid chuckles. Last time this guy made me laugh (on purpose) was in True Lies, but he snags a few jolly punchlines as Soul Plane's requisite Whitey.There's very little within "Soul Plane" that you haven't seen elsewhere (and funnier), but there's a likeable vulgarity and raunchy enthusiasm that carries the flick through the (rather frequent) moments of familiarity and tedium.