Review: Soul Men


Director:Malcolm D. Lee

Cast:Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac, Sharon Leal, Adam Herschman, Sean Hayes

Running Time:103.00


Riding high on success, Marcus Hook and the Real Deal felt that life could never get better. Sadly, they were right. Soon after their breakout hit, Marcus left the group to pursue a solo career. As a result, Floyd and Louis were forced to pick up the pieces and keep the band alive and well. But after their one breakout hit, 'Walk in the Park,' the guys split up due to "creative differences." Now, flash forward to the present day. Floyd is a retired car-wash owner and Louis is a run-down mechanic. And though neither party speaks to the other, the death of Marcus is about to bring the guys back for an incredible cross-country journey that will pit them side-by-side on stage for the first time in over three decades.

Sound interesting? Unfortunately, it doesn't. While I wasn't looking forward to the film or its music, I chose to see it out of the respect for the late Bernie Mac. Sadly, it is a huge disappointment that a man so legendary and insanely funny had to go out on such a lackluster, unmoving film as Soul Men.

For starters, the premise is as generic and overly simple as they come. From the onset, the film carries a corny, over-the-top tone that is both repulsive and uninspiring. From the awkwardly unflattering songs to the unneeded, stereotypical dialogue, everything about the film seems forced and out of place.

But more than the story, I found myself turned off by the work of Samuel L. Jackson. First, let me say that I am not a fan of the actor. Since his turn as Carl Lee Hailey in 1996's A Time to Kill, Jackson's work has consistently gone downhill. However, every time I step into the theater I bring with me a ray of hope that Jackson will overcome his inability to perform and shock both me and the rest of the audience. Unfortunately, that time has not come. With Soul Men, Jackson gives one of his most uninteresting performances to date as the down-on-his-luck Louis Hinds.

Even Jackson's most simple tasks were out of place. He had a difficult time conveying both his back story and his struggles with moving on. His interactions with Mac seem forced and ill-willed as he fails to intrigue the audience, sending them away unhappy and unsatisfied.

Yet, even with an unfortunate co-star, Bernie Mac found it within himself to give a strong and undeniably show-stealing performance as Floyd Henderson. Though rarely given the chance to grace the screen alone, Mac uses the best of his time as he boasts his strong acting and comedic talents in what would later be classified as his last film. Even though the film was an unfortunate disaster, I can honestly say that Mac successfully showcased his talent as he brought the impulsive and ridiculous dreamer to the screen in fine fashion.

Regretfully, there is little else to mention about the film. Sure there are the classic one-liners that people will either laugh or smile at, and you can't forget the supporting performances by Sharon Leal and Sean Hayes. But there is nothing so substantial that it deserves a mention. The film was decent, and that is being nice. However, I feel that every movie fan owes it to Bernie Mac to at least see it. You don't have to like it, but out of respect, at least give it a chance - even if it is on DVD.

*A montage of highlights and extra footage is shown at the end of the film, dedicating it to both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hays.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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