In yet another variation on the shopworn road picture in which two mismatched former buddies are forced to cross the country together Soul Men’s uneasy brand of overly broad humor and contrived situations is saved intermittently by some cool musical numbers. But alas it’s not enough. Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) are part of a major musical group led by Marcus Hooks (John Legend) who goes solo leaving Floyd and Louis in the lurch. Fast forward 20 years Hooks has died and Louis and Floyd who did not end on good terms and have not spoken since have been coerced into appearing a tribute show for Hooks at New York’s famed Apollo Theatre. Afraid to fly they get in Floyd’s 1971 Cadillac El Dorado accompanied by a talented young woman (Sharon Leal) who may be Floyd’s daughter. Along the way they try to get their act up to speed by appearing in various redneck honky tonks filling the interminable 103-minute running time with a lot of unfunny sexual encounters and unbelievable situations. The late Bernie Mac was a terrific comic talent and is highly wasted in this mishmash in which he is constantly encouraged to mug for laughs. Mac is so much better than the lowbrow material he has to work with here that it’s a shame this film should stand as one of his last (at least there’s Madagascar 2). Faring even worse however is Samuel L. Jackson who is out of his element in a musical comedy and seems to be taking none of this hokum seriously. Thankfully the soulful musical numbers reminiscent of classic ‘60s Sam and Dave R&B are well chosen and capably performed even though neither Mac nor Jackson are known for their singing. Best number in fact is fronted by John Legend making his acting debut as Hooks. As the young eager beaver manager trying to get Floyd and Louis back together Sean Hayes is way too broad. Faring better is newcomer Adam Herschman as Hayes’ mop-topped intern who uses his fanboy infatuation with the pair to nice advantage. And there’s a nice now bittersweet bit near the end with the late Isaac Hayes. Malcolm Lee (Undercover Brother Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) is a director who tends to go for the slapstick when a little subtlety and believability would be more in order. With a great Sunshine Boys premise and some nifty musical material to pepper the proceedings Lee still manages to drop the ball letting his talented actors down and encouraging them to chew up every scene. The corny silly situations certainly doesn’t help matters with the road trip device feeling more like padding than anything else. Soul Men doesn’t find the right rhythms.
Despite the horrible attacks America suffered on the morning of Sept. 11, the Oscars will go on next March, Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences told Variety on Tuesday. "The world will see an American tradition continue, and will take notice," Pierson said. "If we give in to fear, if we aren't able to do these simple and ordinary things, the terrorists have won the war."
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced plans on Monday to expand a small USO center for members of the armed forces at Los Angeles International Airport into a 4,000 square-foot club called the Bob Hope Hollywood USO, the Associated Press reported.
American soul singer Issac Hayes will perform at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, London on Oct. 21, in aid of the New York Fire Department, Reuters reports. Hayes will be joined by Jesus Christ Superstar star Carl Anderson and award winning film composer Mark Isham.
Major Charles Ingram, an army officer, was arrested on Monday evening--and is out on bail until December 4--after he allegedly cheated on the British quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, reports Reuters. Ingram is currently locked in a legal battle with the makers of the show after they refused to pay him one million pounds in winnings.
Producer Tim Van Rellim has dropped his suit against producer Todd Black and attorney Alan Wertheimer over producing fees for the recent film A Knight's Tale. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Van Rellim has now named filmmaker Brian Helgeland as defendant, alleging that Helgeland agreed to assign to Van Rellim half the producer's fee, but deprived him of benefits and consideration under contracts.
Singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading was honored at Buckingham Palace on Monday, AP reported. The 50-year-old singer, became a Member of the Order of British Empire, at a palace ceremony with Price Charles.
Ewan McGregor and Heath Ledger began negotiations to star in the Ted Demme-directed film Nautica. The story revolves around a murder on a yacht, which is then retold through the eyes if three people, says to The Hollywood Reporter.
A signed, diamante-studded T-shirt used by Madonna on her latest Drowned World Tour, is expected to raise $14,500 when it's auctioned off on Oct. 22 at Christie's in London, reports Reuters. The item forms part of a collection of celebrity memorabilia, including Eton John's diamante suit worn at this year's Cannes Film Festival and sunglasses worn by U2 star Bono, to raise money for the Cancer and Leukemia in Childhood (CLIC) appeal.
Brill's Content magazine will be shut down as Brill Media Holdings and magazine publisher Primedia Inc. ended their partnership just six months ago, causing about 38 people to be laid off, reports Reuters. Brill Media will sell its media Web site Inside.com to Primedia, the publisher of Seventeen and New York magazines that had held a 49 percent stake in Brill Media.
The U.S. government is seeking to determine which online music ventures they will allow to distribute music over the Internet, reports Reuters. The Justice Department launched an investigation last summer of two industry joint ventures, Pressplay and MusicNet, which seek to provide a legal, industry-sanctioned alternative to song-swapping services such as Napster.