Review: “Soul Plane”

A decently fun albeit limp comedy, ‘Soul’ can’t hold a candle to the likes of the “Airplane” (aka. “Flying High”) franchise but, especially in its first half, the movie manages to elicit a few good laughs from its satire of modern day airlines.

Whether it be the luxuriously roomy first class that any airline traveller wishes they could spend time in, to an economy of cheap seats with steel roof school lockers (and where meals are simply a bucket of KFC that passengers must ‘take one piece and pass it back’), the environments onboard manage to be far more varied than expected. Business class especially can’t make up its mind, turning from a fighting ring to a tittie bar at one point.

Inevitably the piece becomes weighted down as it moves forward with the gags switching to the dumb gross-out style more than anything else. Characters are unoriginal and ubiquitous stereotypes like the white kid interested in rapping, the white housewife nervous of all the black men around her only to fall in love with them after they all start hitting on her, the pot-smoking pilot, the young couple out to do it wherever they can onboard, etc.

As a result their routines all become tired early on and never vary throughout. The ones who manage to come out with the most smiles though surprisingly prove to be Arnold who thankfully never goes into overdrive, Mo’Nique with her deliciously screeching pushy security attendant, Hughley as a slightly aggressive attendant in the biggest bathroom ever seen on an airline, and Gary A. Williams who throws himself into the camp gay attendant role.

Despite the fun visual gags, the film lacks any real story so as things progress it relies entirely on setting up gag sequences (incl. one gross one involving a potato) and the ubiquitous ‘plane in trouble, who’s going to land it’ style problems. First-time director Jessy Terrero and his team create interesting sets and set up some great comic potential but never manage to make full use of the latter. A stronger script and more of a direction to the whole thing could’ve resulted in something more memorable than this throwaway video stocking stuffer, but despite its look the film is low brow enough to garner the odd laugh.