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Soul Men

Plot and crass jokes aside, it's a feel-good film
By MARK BAZER  |  November 5, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars

SoulMeninside.jpg
SOUL MEN: Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson are the soul of this one.

The crass jokes feel as if they've been done before, and the plot keeps going just because it has to, but like the best soul music, Malcolm D. Lee's film makes you feel good. That's thanks to the performances — and particularly the facial expressions — of Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac as Louis Hinds and Floyd Henderson, respectively.

Hinds and Henderson are former back-up singers to soul legend Marcus Hooks (John Legend) who've long since taken different paths: Hinds has hit rock bottom, whereas Floyd is a wealthy, bored retiree. When Hooks dies, they put aside their differences to stage a comeback at a tribute for their bandmate at the Apollo. 

As they shake the dust off their polyester suits at several warm-ups gigs, the film comes to life. Mac especially is a joy to watch, and a counterpoint to the humor elsewhere, as he breaks out Temptations-style moves with just the right mix of sly fun and respect for the music. The late Isaac Hayes appears as himself. 103 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Suburbs

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