Plane serves up tired racial stereotypes

Anyone who has flown a plane more than once has experienced, although probably only partially, what Nashawn (Kevin Hart) experienced in the first five minutes of Soul Plane. However, everything that happens later is pure imagination and the embodiment of every single black stereotype possible.

After his awful trip on a plane (which includes getting stuck in a toilet seat and seeing his dog fly through an engine), Nashawn sues the airline. After being awarded $100 million, he decides to open up the airline of his dreams. Tagging along for the ride (and to hire Snoop Dogg as the pilot) is Nashawn’s cousin, Muggsy (Method Man).

A few months later, when their flight gets cancelled in Los Angeles, a family of four headed by Tom Arnold’s Mr. Hunkee (yes, conveniently pronounced hon-kee) is redirected to a new airline at Terminal X – Terminal Malcolm X, that is. The terminal is decked out with everything from a basketball court to a spinning rim display.

Finally, the Hunkees board the plane, only to find themselves in the lowest-class cabin, where overhead compartments open for quarters and the back is standing room only.

In the meantime, Captain Mack (Snoop Dogg) makes himself comfortable in the cockpit and passengers traveling first class sit in leather seats and are treated with lobster and fillet mignon.

The film, despite its incredulousness, has its moments. Some are subtle, such as the Colt .45 endorsement on the sides of the low-class cabin; some are not, such as the Salt ‘n’ Peppa hit “Push It” being played during Arnold’s bathroom experience.

Snoop Dogg, who has learned his comedy skills from his porno video Doggystyle, brings a few laughs to the table, but certainly does not carry the movie. While most of the actors have a few funny lines each, no single character or actor stands out as the funniest in the film — the comedy is a series of unrelated laughs rather than a single person’s achievement.

The only person worthy of the title of the funniest in the movie is Ryan “the kid from Punk’d” Pinkston, playing Billy Hunkee. Every one of his lines is great; more importantly, as one of the youngest physical comedians in Hollywood, he has no trouble delivering them.

Soul Plane starts out with a clever idea and carries it for the first half of the movie, but toward the end, it feels as though the plot is forced, the ending too abrupt and impossible and the humor stale. While comedic elements are present — mainly the exploitation of black vs. white clichés — the movie fizzles out by the end.