Soul Men Malcolm D. Lee

Soul Men Malcolm D. Lee
As comedian Bernie Mac's final film, it is a shame that Soul Men is a disastrously executed paycheque movie with no passion, humour or originality. Perhaps the most creative thing about the film is its tendency to use profanity beyond the likes of even Deadwood, and the occasional unnecessary and entirely puerile sex scene involving dentures and/or over-the-hill porn stars. Dipping into road movie territory, the film reunites Floyd (Bernie Mac) and Louis (Samuel L. Jackson), two parts of a long defunct musical trio, after the third more successful member (John Legend) dies. Given that the pair have a 25-year-old grudge, their motivations for coming together, aside from shouting expletives and insults, is fiscal, as they intend to perform at the Apollo, where their deceased friend is being paid tribute. Along the way they pick up Cleo (Sharon Leal), a young woman believed to be Floyd's daughter, and occasionally screw strangers (Jennifer Coolidge). Little that happens is particularly original or even remotely interesting, as this by-the-numbers excuse for Jackson and Bernie Mac to share the screen struggles to sustain a narrative. Much of this can be attributed to Lee's atrocious and inconsistent direction, while the rest stems clearly from a script that was slapped together by executives in boardrooms, rather than anyone invested in making something of meaning. What might be more interesting than the film is the feature commentary track with director Malcolm D. Lee and writers Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone, where they basically admit that the film was simply a paycheque and imply that Samuel L. Jackson is a bit of a prick. Also included are many brief featurettes on the cast, the director, the stars and tributes to both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. For the most part, they feature repetitive interviews and the requisite kind words. (Alliance)