Frankly, I was not expecting much from this film. If I were to judge the film based solely on the trailer it looked like another stupid comedy with little to offer (much like Role Models). I am sure you are wondering why I went to see it. The answer is a simple one. Samuel L. Jackson is a great screen presence; whether in something dramatic like Resurrecting the Champ, ridiculous like Snakes on a Plane, or genre-related like the Star Wars prequels, he always delivers something watchable. Yes, there is another reason, that being his partner in crime, the late Bernie Mac. Simply put, these guys are hilarious together. Despite the familiarity of the tale and unevenness of the plotting this is a movie that will have you laughing too hard to care.
One film sprang almost immediately to mind as I watched Soul Men unfold before me — that film is The Blues Brothers. No, they are not exactly the same, but they both involve music, recently reunited partners, and a journey during which many issues arise, both personal and professional. This is to take nothing away from the classic nature of the 1980 John Landis film, as Soul Men really does not come close to the timelessness of that journey, but the similarities are there.
Soul Men concerns a mega-popular R&B group of the 1960s and 1970s, Marcus Hooks and The Real Deal. These three men were on top of the world until Marcus (John Legend) chose to go it alone. Hooks became a legendary, award-winning artist while The Real Deal, Floyd Henderson (Bernie Mac) and Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson), floundered as a duo, quickly breaking up due to personal and professional issues.
The story proper picks up in the present day. Marcus Hooks has died and the trio's old label is staging a memorial concert and wants The Real Deal to perform. Of course, this would require Floyd and Louis to get back together, which is not going to be easy. Floyd is the easy one to get on board, as he is bored living in a retirement community. Floyd heads over to Louis' place, where he finds him living in a small, dirty apartment and very unwilling to get back on the stage. However, mention money and he is all over it. Off the two go on a cross-country drive to perform on the legendary Apollo stage.