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Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Louis and Floyd were a popular singing duo back in the day, but then they went their separate ways and never spoke again. When the death of their former group leader reunites them and sends them driving cross country for a tribute concert at the legendary Apollo Theatre, they will have only five days to bury the hatchet on a twenty-year-old grudge. (MGM) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. 75
    This movie has a lot of good music in it, some on the soundtrack, some on the screen. Jackson and Bernie Mac have enormous fun doing intricate dance moves together.
  2. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    70
    There's a nice chemistry between Mac and Samuel L. Jackson in this latest variant of the road movie, which contains comedic elements but actually works better as a drama.
  3. This contemporary riff on "The Sunshine Boys" generally manages to succeed anyway, thanks to the entertaining performances by Mac and co-star Samuel L. Jackson and its generous doses of raucous humor and sweet soul music.
  4. The script is basically a retread of every other AARP comedy, from "Grumpy Old Men" to "Wild Hogs." The laughs, in other words, are of the Viagra and kidney stone variety.
  5. Needless to say, Soul Men has a lot to overcome in its effort to be funny.
  6. Soul Men could have done with less amped-up abrasiveness and more soft-shoe charm.
  7. 0
    For all its crudeness and desperation, Soul Men can't scare up a single laugh.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Feb 26, 2013
    8
    Soul Men was a film that was racked with problems right from the start. Originally the film kept getting pushed back because of a law suit by the R&B group, Sam David, which claimed it to be a farce on their life story. The group also accused the producers of copyright infringement for using their style and the title of one of their songs, "Soul Man". The law suit was finally settled and the movie was released in 2008. Then, days before the films release, two of it's stars, Bernie Mac and Issac Hayes, died on back to back days, a tragedy that created a public relations nightmare. For those reasons, this film wasn't widely distributed or advertised, which is a shame because it was one terrific film. The story starts 30 years after a legendary R&B group, Marcus Hooks The Real Deal, broke up. We see the remaining members, Samuel L. Jackson in trouble with the law, and Bernie Mac, living in a retirement community, when they learn about the sudden death of Hooks. Record executives, quick to capitalize on his death, organize a tribute show at the Apollo in New York, and invite the Real Deal to participate. This means that two men who hate each other and haven't performed in almost 30 years, need to get their act together in a hurry if they want the big pay day and a chance at a come back. The film is an absolute riot, with Mac as the old lonely man and Jackson as the bitter forgotten convict. Their chemistry was nothing short of amazing and the big surprise was that both men can actually sing and dance! Even though they must have said mother f'er about a thousand times, I found the film to be very clever, funny, and original. If it wasn't for all the problems it had, this movie would have done much better than it did and it is without a doubt, worth watching. Expand
  2. ChadS.
    Nov 9, 2008
    6
    Talk about being a consummate professional, before filming began on Michael Radford's "Il Postino", Italian actor Massimo Troisi said, "Wait a minute/wait a minute," to the heart surgeon instead of the fictitious "Mr. Postman". Talk about being a trooper; Troisi suffered a massive coronary because of his selfless dedication. The postman died. In a motion picture about sixties-era soul music that features a posthumous performance by a then-ailing man, the 1964 Marvelettes hit "Please Mr. Postman" and the five-time Oscar nominated film from 1996 seems relevant to mention. Without a doubt, Bernie Mac's untimely death is responsible for many wince-inducing moments that lend a ghoulish fascination to the filmic proceedings. In one pointed scene, he emerges from a coffin like Screamin' Jay Hawkins. In another, he's mixing sleeping pills and alcohol like David Ruffin. Gallows humor, or ironical foreshadowing, call it what you want; seeing Mac before his Mac attack definitely raises the game of this servicable tribute to old-school rhythm and blues. So is The Real Deal more of a Stax, or a Motown act? My money is on Stax(the cameo of stacked porn star Vanessa Del Rio plays like a referential inside joke) as being the label that "Soul Men" pays homage to(also, the late Issac Hayes recorded for the independent Memphis record company), since "Dreamgirls" already essayed the Berry Gordy-run empire. When it comes to black artists in the music biz, especially concerning the little matter about royalties, everybody knows that many R & B pioneers were ripped off. What's notable about "Soul Men" is that the people doing the stealing from black artists are other black people. Like comedian Chris Rock, the star of "The Bernie Mac Show" never was one to shy away from talking hard truths to America, and this includes criticism about his own kind. In particular, the film's attack on sampling in rap is revelatory, when Floyd Henderson(Bernie Mac) and Louis Hinds(Samuel L. Jackson) take issue with an upstart rapper's "borrowing" of a Real Deal bassline. Back in the late-eighties, Alternative hip-hoppers De La Soul sampled the sixties pop group The Turtles' "You Showed Me" for their music collage track "Transmitting Live from Mars", and seriously pissed them off. They sued. Floyd and Louis, like Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman(of The Turtles), concur with ex-Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb's assertion about "rappers stealing everything"(from "Great Dreams of Heaven"). In many instances, the music industry specialized in the thievery of black artists, but "Soul Men" has the honesty and integrity to demonstrate that thievery is often colorblind(remember: Stax's founders Jim Stewart & Estelle Axton were white, and Atlantic Records stole their masters). Collapse
  3. JayH.
    Feb 3, 2009
    5
    Disappointing and not as funny as I was hoping. It's not bad but I saw so much lost potential. The cast does fine, some good music but it isn't at all memorable. Very routine stuff. Expand
  4. Gary
    Nov 10, 2008
    1
    Eerie to see the late Bernie Mac one last time on the big screen. He was a very good comedian. But unfortunately this is not a very good movie.

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