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Soul Men
DVD disk
03.04.2009 By: Aaron the H
Soul Men order
Director:
Malcolm D. Lee

Actors:
Bernie Mac
Samuel L. Jackson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After their former band leader dies, 2 has-been musicians reunite and head to New York to play a tribute show at the Apollo.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I kind of put off reviewing this movie. Iíd heard it wasnít great, and I really didnít want to have to rip on the late, great Bernie Macís swan song. But after viewing this film, I just canít resist. This is no swan song; itís just loud, indecipherable noise. The story is something that could have been golden; Two aging former Soul singers, down on their luck, reunite and head out on a cross-country road trip to pay tribute to their fallen former friend. I get that the studio wanted to make a comedy, but with a story like this, this movie could have been funny and still made room for realism, emotion, and quality. But instead, the filmmakers decided forego all of these things in favor ofÖwait for itÖBONER JOKES!

You know youíre in trouble when the film starts off with a 50 year-old Bernie Mac inexplicably in a retirement community, while his same-age counterpart Samuel L. Jackson works as a mechanic and looks like a 90's gangbanger. In line with that, the # of F bombs and curse words in this film makes Boyz N The Hood look like Toy Story, and I canít for the life of me figure out what the point is. The problems are all in the script. These characters are not lovable, have both aged without an ounce of class, and spend the whole film bickering, swearing, and popping Viagra. The lewdness doesnít stop with the more than half-dozen erection gags (literally). We also get pubic hair jokes, a blowjob scene, a ridiculous jailbreak, and the biggest pair of tits Iíve ever seen (OK, I had no problem with that). This would all be well and good in a teen comedy, but what kid or even young adult is going to want to watch two middle-aged soul singers yell and sing mediocre songs for 90 minutes? For those of you looking for a good musical, look elsewhere.

The filmmakers didnít seem to put much care into the making of this thing. Itís about a cross-country road trip, and yet, Sam and Bernie never left the soundstage. The driving scenes are shot on a green-screen so bad it reminded me of that famous scene in Wayneís World. Meanwhile, John Legend (making a great cameo) apparently didnít care enough to show up to shoot his coffin scene since they used an obvious wax statue of him. As for positives? Well, Samuel and Bernie had a few good comedic moments and decent chemistry, and Bernie did have one touching, somber scene that nearly got me misty-eyed. Still, these characters were so foul-mouthed, grumpy, and just plain unlikable that it was hard to really root for them. Sam, please stick with the dramatic fare, you're great at it. Bernie, I'm sorry, you deserved better than this.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Director Malcolm D. Lee and writers Matt Stone and Robert Ramsay: The tone of this commentary is very jokey, but this right here is not: in the first few minutes, the writers mention that the idea was originally to make the film about two feuding BBQ restaurant owners, and the director jokes that he made this film for the money. That could explain a lot.

The Soul Men: Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson (9:31): A short collection of clips and interviews where everyone talks about how great Sam Jackson and Bernie Mac are. I too love both these men, and I wonít blame this disaster on them.

The Cast of Soul Men (7:43): Similar to the previous feature, but now we talk about the rest of the cast and how pleased the Producers are to have them aboard.

Director Malcom Lee (2:51): Now everyone compliments the director, and he tells us he loves soul music. Have they SEEN this movie or the box office receipts? Completely and utterly unnecessary special feature.

A Tribute to Bernie Mac (7:27): Its kind of insulting that the tribute to Bernie Mac has a shorter runtime than the ďCastĒ featurette. Some sweet things are said by the crew and Bernie says some heartwarming stuff himself. I know Iím not the only one thatís going to miss this guy.

A Tribute to Isaac Hayes (4:04): People weigh in and pay tribute to the man who brought us the theme from Shaft and the voice of Chef (for starters). As one of the actresses says here, he was the ultimate Soul Man.

"Boogie Ainít Nuttin": Behind the Scenes (2:32): A weird, short feature that shows Bernie and SLJ in the recording booth showing off their vocal abilities (or lack thereof).

Bernie Mac at the Apollo (4:18): The best feature of the bunch. Bernie takes the mic at the Apollo in between scenes and we get to see him spit some jokes and do what he does best: entertain a crowd. To be there would have been something special.

Theatrical Trailer (2:26): If youíve rented this film than itís already too late. If not, just catch this instead of the movie.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Loud, mean-spirited and devoid of any real emotion, rent this flick only if you're feeling nostalgaic for Bernie Mac's comedic talents (he is occasionally funny in this). He's got one more film coming out this year, lets hope it's a little better.
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