Out of the countless movies that come out of Hollywood every year about 10 to 15% are true comedy’s. Just like any film these can be broken down into three types. A must see, not worth your time, and what has been affectionately called a “Rental.” For those of you not familiar with that term, In short this means yes it’s worth your money just not all $10. And so we come to Soul Men, which unfortunately gets added to that list.
(Samuel L. Jackson) and (Bernie Mac) play Louis Hinds and Floyd Henderson. Two singing legends who are unwillingly brought back together after the recent death of their former lead member Marcus Hooks (John Legend). In an uneasy effort to put their past grudges behind them, these two set off on what is bound to be a problematic road trip to perform one last time at a tribute concert for Marcus.
The good news is that Jackson and Mac’s comedic chemistry is perfection. A skill that is no doubt attributed to their longtime friendship off screen. The bad news is that while these are both talented performers we’ve seen this story and same gags before. Maybe not exactly the way its portrayed here, but it comes awfully close. I don’t want to blame director Malcom D. Lee because the scenarios that are suppose to be funny are, and when it’s time for those heartfelt moments they’re genuine. I also can’t forget to mention the film’s seriously fun toe tapping songs. However, the movie has several chances to really take off but instead gets pushed forward by cheap laughs and the knowledge that we know where it’s all going to end up anyway so let’s just hurry up and get there.
A warning, the audience for this one is definitely eighteen and over. As Bernie Mac famously said in The Original Kings of Comedy “muthafucka” is a noun.” It’s used in this film so many times I lost count, not to mention those good ole fashioned T/A shots which could have been used less and still retained their shock value. (Spoiler alert) hats off to Mac for making “Rim Job” funny again.
When it comes down to it, Soul Men is a mildly entertaining Friday night movie for about 75 minutes. After that, you’ll be wishing you went to see Bernie Mac live at The Apollo instead. It’s indeed a tragic shame that’s no longer possible.