Time Out says
August was a grim time for many, when an Original King of Comedy and Black Moses died within a day of each other. Is it merely a coincidence that they’re both in this crummy movie? Bernie Mac appears in almost every scene; Isaac Hayes plays himself for just a few minutes. Yet seeing both beloved performers in such an unworthy vehicle is like witnessing the desecration of the dead.
Soul Men is also the second stinker in a year (February’s Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins was the first) from the once-promising Malcolm D. Lee. Written by Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone (1999’s Life), this aggressively idiotic comedy/road movie follows two burned-out Los Angeles crooners, Floyd (Mac) and Louis (Jackson), who bury the hatchet—and squeeze into double-knit polyester suits—after 20 years, to travel to a memorial at the Apollo for the former leader of their trio. In between Mac and Jackson’s flat, cuss-filled bickering, Viagra jokes and sight gags about how funky the white schlub really is are wheeled out; Sharon Leal gets picked up along the way in a thankless role as the abused, golden-throated daughter of an ex of both of the old-timers.
While we’re mourning the dearly departed, we should also be concerned about the future. What does it say about how bleak things are for black actresses that Mac has more post–Soul Men projects than Leal? As for the wonderful comedian, he’s shown as the credits roll discussing his credo to “always make them remember you.” To truly honor Mac, forget this film.
Cast and crew
Samuel L Jackson
Vanessa del Rio