Soul Men Reviews
So much of this film seems pasted together and you feel that, in spite of this being Bernie's last film, this was pretty much paint by the numbers, and just about everyone's hearts weren't in it.
Sloppy is a good way to describe the direction - flashbacks of "previous" scenes, that were actually on the cutting room floor parred with a "just keep the camera rolling and something magical will happen" feel, keep this film tethered to the ground, where it could have soared.
There are some nifty period soul tunes by Stanley Clark, and a nice premise, but oddly for "soul men" no soul.
I truly question how a film about a soul singing act, and with such talented musicians involved (the aforementioned Clark as well as Issak Hayes), can be lazy enough to suggest that in 3 different towns a back up band shows up from out of nowhere, instantly knowing all the dudes' material and performing flawlessly. Uh, don't think so Sparky. Using the rehearsing of various backup bands could have been mined for humor as well as giving the film a more authentic feel.
This film reminded me of The Blues Brothers, in the road trip aspect, and many a Lemon/Matheau comedy (Grumpy Old Men, Out To Sea, etc), only not done as well. What a waste of two very talented actors.
Floyd: What kind of life style? You got a pantry full of dog food, and you aint got no dog.
Louis: The dog's under the bed and you lucky he aint attack yo ass when you came in!
In the last film role for late comedian Bernie Mac, he gets to trade lines with Samuel L Jackson in a foul and profanity laden comedy about to 60s backup singers going on a road trip, hoping to start a comeback at the funeral of their late former frontman. There are various issues with this movie, but it is has enough good moments between Mac and Jackson that it works.
Rosalee: You ever had a velveteen rub?
Floyd: Aint no cheese involved is their? Cause I'm lactose intolerant.
[takes out her teeth]
As stated, the two take the road for a concert, having not been together in years, with grudes still held because of an affair with the wife of another. The trip is reluctantly agreed upon due to money, and during the trip, they stop in a number of spots for some warm up gigs, as well as finding an estranged daughter, played by Sharon Leal.
There are a number of problems involving pacing and some sub plots, but once again, as stated, Mac and Jackson make a good team, and the fact that this movie is very R-rated, gives it the kind of boost it needs to make it more effective as a buddy comedy.
Philip: They say motherfucker a lot, but I'm okay.
Record label owner Danny Epstein(Sean Hayes of "Will and Grace") rings up Bernie. Epstein wants Floyd and Louis to perform at Marcus' tribute at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Naturally, Floyd leaps at the offer and looks up Louis. Despite old grudges with each other, Floyd and Louis decide to team up anyway.
The movie has some sex scenes, very brief nudity, raunchy humor, lots of F-Bombs and some hilarious Viagra scenes . Leave the kids, the prudes, and the self-righteous at home. If you enjoy the funny slapstick comedic styling of Bernie Mac, and you enjoy performers like Samuel L. Jackson, then you are going to have a great time. Bernie Mac was absolutely electrifying in Soul Men. Samuel L. Jackson and Mac are fun to watch, especially when they don their flashy outfits and perform their choreographed dance numbers. Jennifer Coolidge (Best known as Stifler's Mom in the "American Pie" series) also has a genuinely funny and memorable supporting part with Bernie. Soul Men is a film filled with plenty of soul.
One scene that got to me is when Bernie Mac and Issac Hayes were leaving a room together and Mac said "after you". Since they died around the same time I found that a little emotional. The end credits where Bernie Mac talks about his career was moving as well and also entertaining.