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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has a great deal of vulgar humor and crude material that may be offensive to some audiences. The movie walks a very thin line between breaking down stereotypes with humor and perpetuating them to get a cheap laugh, sometimes crossing it altogether. The movie includes strong, frequent profanity, including "bitch" and the "N" word. The treatment of the movie's gay character is a lipsticked caricature who's the target -- not the source -- of punchlines. There's a high level of very explicit sexual humor throughout the film. Sexual acts are described in great detail, and a frolicking couple attempt to have sex in every area of the plane. Characters partake of drugs, drink heavily to drown sorrows, and refer to "playa" lifestyles in nothing but positive terms. On the other hand, Nashawn's decision to do give something back to the community and to take responsibility for his actions is an important theme of the movie.
What's the story?
After a horrific flying experience, Nashawn Wade (Kevin Hart) sues the uptight, white airline and sets out to make a difference with his $100 million settlement. He starts "NWA", the first airline aimed broadly at African Americans, but more particularly at "playas". Nashawn joins a motley crew of characters on NWA's first flight from LA to New York, aboard the pimped-out, purple plush plane piloted by Captain Mack (Snoop Dogg). By accident, the Hunkee (pronounced "honkey") family of passive-aggressive father (Tom Arnold), father's blond and busty girlfriend, Barbara (Missi Pyle), rebellious daughter and father-imitating young son end up on NWA due to a mix-up. Other passengers include Nashawn's doe-eyed former high school sweetheart (K.D. Aubert), and a libidinous couple intent on getting into the Mile High Club. Of course, the ride gets bumpy. The Hunkee daughter turns 18, prompting a dance party in the impossibly huge upper deck, much to the distress of her protective father. Captain Mack, afraid of heights, is incapacitated by drugs, co-pilot Gaeman (Godfrey) is the victim of a hot-tub mishap, leaving Nashawn to land the "playas" plane safely.
Is it any good?
SOUL PLANE is 86 minutes of silliness ranging from sweet to raunchy aimed at the "mature" audience who hasn't outgrown poop jokes. But, you might be able to dial your hopes down enough to forgive all that and find some enjoyment in the movie's cheerful vulgarity and the pleasure it takes in stomping on any notion of political correctness. The biggest and best joke of the movie is the plane itself, with First Class a palatial area worthy of MTV's Cribs and "Low" Class a close cousin to a run-down city bus complete with Colt 45 ads, overhead handles to grip and lockers that require a quarter to open.
This movie has a heart, even if it has three sizes yet to grow. Nashawn and his ex-girlfriend have a tender scene where he explains why he left her, and Mr. Hunkee and his daughter have an open discussion about their conflicts. Novice writers Bo Zenga and Chuck Wilson join second-time director, Jessy Terrero, to create this visually entertaining and often funny spoof that gleefully revisits the same airspace covered in Airplane. The jokes range from packaged to fresh, but the most engaging aspect of the comedy is the fun the cast is clearly having on the set. As the security guards, comediennes Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson and Sommore are so funny they could easily have their own sit-com.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how some of the other characters respond to his decisions and how the other characters do or do not take responsibility themselves. Families could choose five different characters and discuss the stereotypes that they represent, in particular how these caricatures might limit how we see the person as a whole. Also, what value does humor have in this movie for tackling issues that are difficult to discuss?
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