Soul Men

Soul Men movie poster
MPAA rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Old animosities re-emerge when two estranged soul singers (Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac) embark on a reunion tour to honor their late band leader.
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, Jennifer Coolidge, Sean Hayes, Ken Davitian
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Running time: 1:38

Editorial Review

There is some pleasure to be had in watching -- and listening to -- Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac sing and dance in "Soul Men." Playing Louis Hinds and Floyd Henderson, a pair of washed-up backup singers who come out of retirement to perform in a tribute concert for their recently deceased former band leader (John Legend), the two veterans, who reportedly did their own moves and vocals, look and sound good in an array of matching suits left over from the golden age of doo-wop.

Unfortunately, not good enough to make up for the unnecessary proliferation of Viagra humor, rectal-exam jokes and comedy at the expense of women, as the two now-estranged bandmates bicker with and swear at each other during a road trip from California to New York's Apollo Theater. One particularly unfortunate scene involves a sexual encounter in a motel room between Floyd and a groupie (Jennifer Coolidge) who is so, um, mature that she needs to take out her false teeth before . . . well, let's not go there.

I know. You don't expect serious in a Bernie Mac movie, but whatever happened to a little dignity? The film's mix of low notes and high -- Louis and Floyd discover a young woman (Sharon Leal) who might be the daughter neither one knew he had -- is an unharmonious blend indeed.

Jackson fares somewhat better, but only because his Louis, an ex-con spouting Taoist aphorisms, is more of the film's straight man. It's the clownish Floyd who gets the bad hip, the erectile dysfunction and the eyes that bug out of his head in apoplectic anger whenever something goes wrong.

Which is often, in this misbegotten buddy-bonding comedy of errors.

Its first mistake? Aiming for the groin, even as it tries to touch the heart.

-- Michael O'Sullivan (Nov. 7, 2008)

Contains prolific obscenity, crude humor, partial nudity, sex scenes, drug dealing and comic violence.