Blerd Film Club: Soul Men

Bernie is probably one of the edgiest, yet most loved comedians of his time. He was said to promote toxic masculinity and homophobia as he stood on stage and told the world there's nothing wrong with a man sucking a dick, as long as he suck it like a man, and provided a demonstration. Yet, at the same time he would tell men they needed to get pedicures and facials. He also played an openly gay man in the movie Life. The same man that would tell you to man up, would also tell you that you needed to accept your emotions and deal with them to be a real man. Bernie Mac was a complicated man, and he brought that to every role he played. In Bad Santa he was given free reign for his character and wanted to be seen getting a pedicure to normalize it.

You pair Bernie Mac with another complicated man. Samuel Jackson. A man who isn't know for comedies, but delivering comedic moments in high stress situations. A man who once held the board of trustees for Morehouse College hostage. The FBI once told Sam Jackson's mother he would be dead if he stayed with the Black Panthers, but he wasn't even a Black Panther. He was just a social worker and community activist. Needless to say, he's another complicated man.

In 2008 these two men were brought together for the movie Soul Men. The film was directed by Micahel D. Lee who brought us other films such as Roll Bounce, The Best Man, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins and of course Girls Trip. The film was completed but it was re-edited for more comedy and less drama after both Bernie Mac and Issac Hayes passed away, making this the last film for either of them.

The film follows two aging singers Louis and Floyd who were once part of a trio. Louis is now a convicted fellow who lives on dog food and Floyd has a wealthy life paid for by his business investments. The two have been feuding and not speaking for 30 years since the band broke up. However, the lead singer Marcus Hooks has recently died and Floyd wants to do a reunion as he grown tired of his current life. He needs a break from his son and grand kids especially since they're trying to put him in a retirement home.

Floyd tracks down Louis who doesn't want to see Floyd. Part of it is because he doesn't want Floyd to see how his life has fallen apart. Eventually Floyd gets in the apartment and tries to convince him. Floyd promises they'll be paid for the event, but that is a lie. Louis agrees because as Floyd points out, he's got a pantry full of dog food and no dog.

The two start the drive and try to open up about all the reasons they dislike each other and start to realize they both just really hated Marcus. Although, Louis did end up sleeping with Odetta, the woman Floyd loved. This led to Floyd being married four times trying to get over her. Despite that, after catching a flat tire the two start to bond. One of their old songs plays on the radio and they try to dance to it.

The men continue their trip playing a few small shows. Along the way they stop to speak with Odetta since neither had heard from her. They find out she's dead, but her daughter Cleo allows them to stay at the home. There they find out Odetta's daughter is being abused by her boyfriend. It also happens that her boyfriend has been sampling their tracks for his terrible raps without paying royalties and disrespecting their music. They do bond with Cleo and after Lester stops rapping about hitting women and actually dos it, they deal with him.

The two take Cleo on the road with them as their new lead singer. Initially she is shy, but she does know all the records. They pull her out of her shell at one of their performances and the crowd loves her. Lester kidnaps their connection to the Marcus tribute and they get arrested for beating him up. In jail Floyd points out that Cleo is Louis' daughter. A fact that he had pieced together but didn't want to accept. Floyd gets out of jail, as their story is true. However he comes back for Floyd and busts him out illegally.

With 13 hours to go they make their way to the show. Along the way they find Lester's side kicks. They steal the car and make their way to New York. Despite being wanted Floyd talks about Louis dying to get into the building with the help of some record executives, after he found pills in Louis bag. Cleo meets them there after being contacted by Louis when he was in jail. Louis reveals he isn't dying, but has an STD. With police all through the building they sneak into Marcus coffin to get on stage and perform.

Inside the coffin they come to some realizations. Marcus used both of them to get famous. The watch Floyd thought Louis stole, was actually stolen by Marcus. Louis realizes he actually missed Floyd and that they'll split the money 50-50. Floyd reveals there was never any money. He just missed his friend and Louis felt the same way. Floyd still hates Marcus. With the coffin being wheeled on stage, the two exit and perform one song, before being arrested. Afterwards they have a successful reunion tour and record deal.

I think Soul Men was a great movie despite what most critics said. Roger Ebert was one of the few who gave it a positive review. He felt it walked the line perfectly with Bernie's style of edgy yet wholesome comedy. He described it as a formula comedy, but one that had emotion in it. That's one of the reasons I really liked it. Despite the fact that it was a comedy there were a lot of moments that were kind of emotional. Louis and Floyd admitting for 30 years they missed each other and admitting they still loved each other like brothers. It had the whole anime friendships last forever vibe going to it, which is just fine.

For as enjoyable as the film is I do wonder what it would be like before re-cuts to make it less drama filled. There were certainly moments that seemed as if they were going to be tear jerkers but go cut short. Despite falling short in some categories Soul Men makes up for it by being down right hilarious.

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Blerd Film Club: Soul Men Blerd Film Club: Soul Men Reviewed by Blerds Online on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Rating: 5

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