Soul Men – A modern day Blues Brothers!
I was really looking forward to Soul Men. This was not due to the fact that two of its stars had recently died, but more because of the trailer. It managed to hold my attention which is something of a surprise as I have the attention span of a…..er….orange flippy thing!
So is it as good as the trailer? Should I have just expected a contrite load of cack? Well you’ll be surprised to hear that Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes ended on a corker of a film. This is unusual as so often great entertainers end their careers with something that is best forgotten (e.g. John Candy in Wagon’s East).
It seems then that Mac and Hayes managed to pull an “Oliver Reed”; ending their career on a high. Soul Men is certainly a fitting tribute to the comedian Mac. It’s just a shame that Hayes didn’t sing as much in it.
Though it’s been some twenty years since they have spoken with one another, two estranged soul-singing legends agree to participate in a reunion performance at the Apollo Theater to honor their recently deceased band leader.
So after twenty years Jackson (playing Louis) and Mac (playing Floyd) have both been crooks. Louis robbed banks and Floyd sold cars (not that I’m, suggesting that all car dealers are crooks…..but they are!…in my opinion). It seems that the best scenes in the film are when Mac and Jackson are having a go at each other. The language that protrudes from their lips isn’t something you’d want your mother to hear, but rest assured it’ll make you laugh. How on earth can you use the term “m*ther f**ker” so many times in only 100 minutes? Usually I find this continuous use of this sort of language abhorrent but somehow Jackson and Mac keep it oddly friendly.
Their dynamic in the film may be what keeps you laughing but you cannot hide the fact that this is a tale that has once been told. In many places you keep thinking that perhaps a bit too much of The Blues Brothers has been lifted. This is not completely a bad thing as you feel at home with this tale. There is no real threat and it gets very silly in places (not to the same degree of the Blues Brothers but silly nonetheless).
Of all of the characters on screen though, I thought Philip (played by Adam Herschman) was unnecessary and mostly un-entertaining. He didn’t seem to gel as well as most of the rest of the cast. The always funny Jennifer Coolidge for example, (unfortunately known for being “Stifler’s Mom”) jumps on for a bit of a ride (excuse the pun) and brings some hilarity to the situation with her teeth action.
I don’t think I had expected to laugh at this film as much as I did. I enjoyed it immensely. For those of you who haven’t experienced The Blues Brothers and want something a bit more up to date (but without the large amounts of crashing police cars) Soul Men is the best choice. It doesn’t pull its punches with language, it has a solid cast and it has some strangely catchy music. If nothing else, you get to see Samuel L Jackson line dancing! Surely that’s got to be worth the DVD price alone!
A solid performance from both Samuel L Jackson and Bernie Mac. It is a great shame that Mac and Hayes died and could not appreciate how truly amusing the final film is. I’d recommend it to anyone who isn’t offended by two black men cussing at each other for 100 minutes. A truly quality movie that deserves a place in your DVD collection.
Rating: 4 out of 5