Soul Men is a movie with a weird vibe as two of it’s castmembers, one of the two being the top-billing lead, died shortly before the movie was released. It gives this movie an extra dimension especially since a death in the movie itself sets the events in motion. This is something that no doubt will change over the course of time but at the time of this review that vibe is very much there. although probably not everybody watching this movie is aware of the fate of one of its leads, so I’m gonna put that out of my head and review it with a clear state of mind…
For those not familiar with the plot, let me save you a google-search and bring you up to speed: The two remaining members of the popular soul band, The Real Deal, from the 1970’s, Floyd Henderson, now a retired businessman, and ne’er-do-well, ex-convict, Louis Hinds, take a road trip to the Apollo Theater for a musical tribute to their recently deceased front man, Marcus Hook. As they travel cross country in a series of adventures and misdventures, they air old grievances about thirty year old betrayals and learn the music’s still in them.
Now let’s just pretend the whole dying-thingie never happened. This movie had me laughing out loud on occassions. There were really some crude jokes flying all over the place. Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson are gold together! Bernie Mac has his first real starring role here and he succeeds with flying colors. He’s got a good career in front of him… Remember, I’m still pretending! Samuel L. Jackson shows another side acting in a genre we almost never see him in and when we do the endproduct is something you keep off your resume. Can you name a few comedies starring Sam that were boxoffice hits? That’s what I mean, box office and critical failures I do have for ya! But practice makes perfect as Sam is right at home in this film. Mostly he gets to play the straight guy, and he does get the usual dont-fuck-with-me-rant twice or so. Loved that! Extra credits go out to the director who seems to be the black reincarnation for Russ Meyer; Malcolm D. Lee. The dude sure loves big tits as he gives us not only ex-pornstar Vanessa del Rio who shows them off, but also everybodies favorite MILF Jennifer Coolidge in a hilarious scene where it’s hard to take your eyes of her assets. She can give me a velveteen rub any day!
This movie doesn’t get extra points for originality as it basically borrows from tons of other buddy-road-movies. Especially the ending; The Blues Brothers with lesser cars destroyed! But original or not, the funny jokes and strong acting really elevates this movie above average and make this a welcome way to spend 100 minutes of your life. Stay watching while the end credits roll for a nice tribute to Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.