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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soul Men DVD Review

SOUL MEN - An Alliance Films Release


On DVD: March 3rd, 2009

Rated Canada 18A for sexual content, coarse language, and violence.

Running time: 104 minutes

Malcolm D. Lee (dir.)

Samuel L. Jackson as Louis Hinds

Bernie Mac as Floyd Henderson

Sharon Leal as Cleo

Adam Herschman as Phillip

Sean Hayes as Danny Epstein

Affion Crockett as Lester

John Legend as Marcus Hooks

Isaac Hayes as himself

Jennifer Coolidge as Rosalee


Soul Men Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Soul Men is incredibly cool and full of style. And the best thing about this road-trip, buddy movie is we get to cruise along to the sweet sounds of “The Real Deal”. Bernie Mac, (who died on August 9th, 2008, after filming was complete. May he rest in peace), plays Floyd Henderson, and Samuel L. Jackson plays Louis Hinds, two legendary soul singers who haven’t been together in over twenty years. They have to drive to the Apollo Theater to sing in a memorial concert for their recently deceased band leader Marcus Hooks, (John Legend). Also look out for a cameo by the legendary Isaac Hayes, (who died on August 11th, just two days after Bernie Mac. May he rest in peace). Amidst the music, we also get enough raunchy humor and Viagra jokes to last us for more than 4 hours. I laughed out loud a lot more than once. While the story and plot elements bear resemblance to The Blues Brothers, it is neither rip-off nor parody, and being a fan of both, I think it will likely be enjoyed by a similar audience. Just don’t watch this movie if you don’t like the f word, especially when linked with another word. When this film was getting rated, the censors who count the cuss words, would have had their pens out of ink within the first few minutes. Soul Men is a lot of fun from start to finish, and will be enjoyed by anyone who likes humor and good music.

The DVD comes loaded, with feature commentary by director Malcolm D. Lee and writers Matt Stone and Rob Ramsey, featurettes entitled The Soul Men: Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson, The Cast of Soul Men, Director Malcolm D. Lee, Boogie Ain’t Nuttin’: Behind-The-Scenes, Bernie Mac at The Apollo, the films Theatrical Trailer and Tributes to Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.


Soul Men Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

I was not sure what I would think of this movie, since it got kind of mixed reviews when it was in theatres, but I actually really enjoyed it. Soul Men is the story of two guys who used to sing together in a band called “The Real Deal”. The third member of their band has died, and they have to get back together to perform in a tribute concert to him. The problem is that after over 20 years, they are still holding grudges against each other. This is a road trip comedy that has many laughs in it. The soul music is really great to listen to, and the overall feel of this movie is what I had hoped it would be.

There is a lot of swearing in this movie, although within the first few minutes, it just becomes part of the way that the characters talk, barely even noticeable as you become used to it. I think that this movie was underrated by many, and I do pity those reviewers who felt they had to count the swear words. If they were allowed to just guess and say ‘a couple hundred uses of the f-word, mixed with another word’, for example, then their job would have been made a whole lot easier.

It was nice to see this movie, which stars Bernie Mac, who sadly passed away this past summer. There is a nice tribute to him in the end credits, as well as a special tribute feature to him on the disc. Isaac Hayes, who also passed away this summer has a cameo in this movie as well. There is also a tribute to him on the disc which would be worth watching.

The other features on the disc are: Feature commentary, The Soul Men: Bernie Mac & Samuel L. Jackson, The cast of Soul Men, Director Malcolm D. Lee, the aforementioned tributes to Bernie Mac, and Isaac Hayes, a behind the scenes feature, Bernie Mac at the Apollo, and the theatrical trailer.


Soul Men Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

When I first heard of Soul Men, I didn’t know what to expect. I am glad that I got to see it though, because Soul Men is a funny - (but very rude) - comedy. The movie is about two soul singers, Louis and Floyd, who originally sang in a trio with another singer named Marcus Hooks. Over the years, the trio broke up, and each member went their own separate ways. When Marcus dies, Louis and Floyd are called back together to perform a tribute concert at the Apollo Theatre. Trouble is, there is a 25 year old grudge between the two. Now Louis and Floyd have to put aside their differences, as they travel on a hilarious journey to the Apollo.

Soul Men has great music, and lots of fast paced fun. Some viewers may not enjoy the language, nudity, and sexual humour, so I would not recommend showing this movie to your grandmother. However, despite the 18A rating, this film has virtually no violence, (aside from some mild slapstick humour). Over all, Soul Men is a fun comedy with great, catchy songs. Rent this movie, and get the soundtrack.


Soul Men Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Soul Men has a lot going for it. It’s got good music, solid comedic acting and overall is really funny. However if crude language and blue pill humor offend you, then you might want to pass on this one.

Bernie Mac, (as Floyd), and Samuel L. Jackson, (Louis), play retired soul singers who try to put aside a 25 year grudge to do a tribute concert in memory of the recently deceased third member of their former trio, (Marcus Hooks played by John Legend). The interaction between veteran actors Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson is enjoyable to watch from start to finish. Given the fact that both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes, (in a cameo appearance), died shortly after this film’s release, fans of both these talented individuals will want to see their work in Soul Men. It’s not a brilliant movie, but very entertaining. It’s worth at the very least a rental - just make sure the kiddies are in bed first.


Soul Men Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Soul Men may not be the kind of film “white people like”. I pity the fool (I couldn’t resist) who for an R rating had to count the instances of “pervasive language”. I actually found the vocabulary enriched rather than cheapened the witty dialogue and the film was less offensive overall than much of the output of Kevin Smith or Judd Apatow. Like Booty Call, Soul Men for me is a guilty pleasure, along with other films dismissed in their day, such as The Blues Brothers and A Mighty Wind.

As usual, I don’t want to reveal too much. The internet trailers (both clean green and restricted red) will give you a good taste of what to expect, even though they may spoil the plot a bit. The back story involves Marcus Hooks & the Real Deal, an R & B trio huge in the 60’s & 70’s, with basketball-sized ‘fros to match (perhaps leftover wigs from Undercover Brother, by the same director, Malcolm D. Lee). Marcus (played in archive clips by John Legend) went solo at the end of the 70’s and his Real Deal backup singers Floyd (Bernie Mac) & Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) broke up not long after. Floyd moved out west and is seen in an old TV commercial leering in front of his “full body” (as in Cool Hand Luke) car wash. Louis was not so lucky, doing years of jail time for armed robbery. Some 20 years later, Marcus has just died and the Real Deal have been invited to a tribute concert at the Apollo in Harlem. With his nephew now running the business, Floyd is restless in his comfortable retirement community and he goes to pick up Louis, who despite his own squalid circumstances is at first reluctant to go along. During the 5 days they take to cross the country in their big old Cadillac convertible (The Muthaship), their old rivalries are brought out and finally resolved.

The cast is excellent. Samuel L. Jackson’s characteristic rage is contrasted with Bernie Mac’s wide eyed reactions to awkward situations, often involving the priapic effects of his meds. Sharon Leal is radiant as the daughter of the woman they had fought over. Affion Crockett is appropriately obnoxious as the rapper fool who slaps her around, not a wise move when Samuel L. Jackson’s character is there to defend her. Adam Herschman is good as a starstruck nerd manager. Sean Hayes embodies a media executive and Isaac Hayes plays himself. Jennifer Coolidge, as in the American Pie and Christopher Guest films, has a brief but unforgettable role.

Of course, one of the main stars is the music. Though it lacks the big budget of the Blues Brothers films, whose R & B legends were backed up by the great Memphis Stax Studio musicians of the day, Soul Men has a strong score featuring among others some of the current Stax artists. It was interesting, for example, how well the soul sound and choreography came through even when backed up in a Texas bar by a western swing band playing to a crowd of line dancers.

There is a brief tribute to the late Bernie Mac over the closing credits. We can be thankful for one film from Jackson & Mac, the latest in a great tradition of comedy duos, and a long way from Amos’n’Andy.


Consensus: Soul Men is a fun comedy that would be worth watching on DVD, despite it being underrated. The acting is solid, and the music is great. *** (Out of 4)

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