In 2008, some pretty big names died well before their time - and rather unexpectedly. Heath Ledger went on top with an Oscar-worthy performance as the Joker. Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes, on the other hand, decided to go the other direction: their last film, Soul Men, is one that can rightly join them in the grave. Pointlessly crude, incessantly dull and not the least bit original, Soul Men is a complete waste of two hours.
Soul Men stars Mac and Samuel L. Jackson star as Floyd Henderson and Louis Hinds, two soul-singing legends who have long since separated ways and left the music industry altogether. But when a former colleague dies, Henderson and Hinds are given the chance to reunite and perform at the Apollo, which could in turn spark a return to their former glory. However, they first have to get across the country and avoid killing each other in the process.
If done right, Soul Men could have been a decent spoof of washed-up singers; instead, director Malcolm D. Lee is content with piecing together a bunch of random segments and hope that everything works out all right. There's little emphasis that these men are past their prime, and in fact the movie is more about them bonding once again than making fun of them. This is all fine and good, but when the final product is as disastrous as this, it's impossible not to question what could have been had it taken a different direction.
The movie just isn't funny. Neither Mac nor Jackson seem all that interested to be here, and one wonders whether either of them - or their agents - read the script before committing. The script is pretty bad, and it develops into one weird but uninspired situation after another, capped off with Henderson breaking Hinds out of jail. There are some random naked breasts in the movie, but they're so disturbing I almost puked it in my mouth. Another scene has Jennifer Coolidge, who seems to be perfectly content mocking how gross she is, revealing her gigantic bush to Bernie Mac. Harry and the Hendersons this is not, however.
It's a shame that Lee has taken to making movies like this. He directed the respectable The Best Man way back in 1999, but since then has gone on to provide audiences with such garbage as Undercover Brother and Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. He's lost his way, and it would be advisable not to give him more work in the future. Sadly, this film may be responsible for the deaths of two of its actors; neither Mac nor Isaac Hayes wanted to survive long enough to see the final product.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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