Thursday, February 5, 2009

Soul Men DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Buddy Flick Featuring Bernie Mac and Sam Jackson Arrives on DVD

Shamelessly borrowing elements from The Blues Brothers, Thelma & Louise and Trains, Planes and Automobiles and other buddy flicks, this rollicking road comedy makes up for its lack of originality with an earthy enthusiasm and infectious energy likely to endear it with any audience. Another plus is the sense of nostalgia generated by the movie’s postscript affectionately acknowledging the passing of both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.
Floyd Henderson (Mac) and Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson) are former R&B legends who sang backup in a trio which a generation ago enjoyed a string of chart-topping hits. However, the group disbanded after front man Marcus Hooks (John Legend) decided to pursue a solo career. Floyd and Louis then tried touring as a duo, but a love triangle with a woman named Odetta (Monyetta Shaw) led to their breakup and quick slide into obscurity.
Now, 20 years later, Marcus has just died and the music industry is planning a big tribute concert to him at the Apollo Theater in five days. Floyd sees this as an opportunity to mount a comeback. So, he shows up unannounced at Louis’ home to find that his estranged partner’s still wants nothing to do with him, at least until a promise of a 60-40 split of the $40,000 purse.
With Louis conveniently afraid of flying, the two agree to drive cross country from L.A. to New York in what else but a classic convertible, a staple of the road genre. A concatenation of calamities invariably ensues en route, and the plot thickens when our heroes rendezvous with Cleo (Sharon Leal), an aspiring-singer who might be the long-lost daughter of one of them. Cleo accepts their offer to join the group and the trio arrives at the Apollo with the paternity issue conveniently being resolved right on time to give dearly-departed Marcus a glorious sendoff.
You’ll laugh here and there at the outrageous antics of Bernie and Sam, given their screen chemistry and larger than life personas. Just don’t expect the flava’ of this cinematic equivalent of bubblegum to last past the closing credits and you won’t be disappointed.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for nudity, sexuality, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: Genius Products
DVD Extras: Director’s audio commentary, tributes to Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes, “Behind-the-Scenes” documentary, “Bernie Mac at the Apollo” and a few other featurettes, and a theatrical trailer.

To see a trailer for Soul Men, visit:

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