Soul Men (2008)
My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Total laughter mayhem with two greatest performers of all time !”
Malcolm Lee, director of upbeat family fare such as WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS and ROLL BOUNCE, takes a slightly raunchier tack for his uproarious buddy comedy, SOUL MEN. The late Bernie Mac gives one of his final performances as Floyd Henderson, a retired back-up singer for a ‘60s soul act known as the Real Deal. When the group’s lead singer, Marcus Hooks–played by real-life soul singer John Legend–suddenly drops dead, the two remaining members of the group, Henderson and Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson), are enlisted to play a tribute concert at the Apollo Theatre in New York City.
Hinds, an ex-convict trying his best to stay out of the limelight, is persuaded by Henderson to drive cross-country for the chance to re-ignite his music career. The classic comedic trope of road-trip antagonism reaches new heights as the pair curse and claw at each other for the entire voyage, taking occasional breaks to stage impromptu roadside rehearsals and other, less PG-rated misadventures.
Throughout, Mac’s formidable skills at slapstick play against Jackson’s no-nonsense, tough guy demeanor–a veneer that, at times, cracks enough to reveal some genuinely tender moments between the two. But SOUL MEN’s final, most poignant postscript is a cameo by fallen soul legend Isaac Hayes–who, coincidentally, died the same week as Bernie Mac–casting a bittersweet pall over the film’s enjoyably comic shenanigans.