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.
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When R&B legend Marcus Hooks dies suddenly, VH-1 invites his original back up duo, Floyd Henderson and Louis Hinds, "The Real Deal," to appear at a memorial tribute at the Apollo Theater. Floyd, who's bored in retirement, wants this more than anything; Louis, a philosophical ex-con, does not. Plus, there's bad blood between them (Louis's wife Odetta left him to marry Floyd - then left Floyd). Floyd begs, Louis consents but won't fly, so they leave L.A. in Floyd's flashy Cadillac with five days to get to New York. On the road, they must get back their vocal chops, renew their friendship, and sort out the past. With Floyd's bad hip and Louis's bad kidneys, will they even make it? Written by
Familiar although enjoyable comedy of redemption and friendship.
A former back-up singer turns car salesman Floyd Henderson (The late Bernie Mac) recently retired somewhere in California. He finds out that the lead singer of their previous soul band Marcus Hooks (John Legend) recently died of a heart attack. Their former manger Mr. Epstein is taking over by his son Danny (Sean Hayes), who wants Floyd to sing for Hooks' tribute concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City. But Danny wants the former second back-up singer turned former criminal Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson) to sing at the concert as well. At first, Louis refuses until Floyd convinces him to do the tribute for money. But Louis and Floyd haven't sing for nearly thirty years! There's some personal problems between these two former friends to solved before reaching the tribute concert of the late former colleague.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Roll Bounce, Welcome Back Roscoe Jenkins) made an enjoyable loose comedy about music, friendship and redemption. Jackson and Mac are extremely well cast in their roles. They actually sing pretty well with some dance moves. Also this was one of the better roles that Mac got to play before he passed on unexpectedly. In some ways "Soul Men" is "Grumpy Old Men" with soul music and a little "Midnight Run" throw in for good measure. No one could curse vulgarity as funny as Jackson and Mac would say.
The DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an good Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The DVD has a lively audio commentary track by the director and screenwriters Matthew Stone & Robert Ramsey. The DVD also has plenty of short featurettes of behind the scenes footage, interviews with the cast & filmmakers and tributes to the late Bernie Mac and Oscar-Winner Issac Hayes (Also his last film in a brief supporting role). The only two things are missing from the DVD is Deleted Scenes and Outtakes, which the filmmakers mention in the commentary track that a couple of sequences were cut. "Soul Men" was a box office disappointment and the film critics has mixed opinions but it will certainly found an audiences an Blu-ray/DVD and on television... sooner or later. Die-Hard fans of Jackson and especially Mac will have a blast with this movie. Jennifer Coolidge in a small memorable supporting part (Best known as Stifler's Mom in the "American Pie" series) has an genuinely funny sequences with Mac. This has a pretty good soundtrack as well. Certainly worth a look. Super 35. (*** 1/2 out of *****).
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