Soul Men

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Soul Men Movie Poster Image
Late great Bernie Mac's last laugh is for adults.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There are discussions of race, class, and criminal behavior. A mother tells her daughter she has "shamed her family" by sleeping with a black man. But the real message is about making the most of rare opportunities and putting the past behind you to forge a better future.


A character smacks another character in the face; a woman is bruised by her boyfriend; a man accidentally shoots a gun in another man's direction.


Love-making scenes include topless women; one woman's buttocks are shown; Viagra, erections, masturbation, and oral sex are discussed.


Strong and frequent: "f--k," "motherf---er," "s--t," "piss," "ass," "a--hole." Characters call other black characters a version of the "N" word.


Featured products and brands include VH1, Flavor of Love, the Apollo Theater, Cadillac El Dorado, and the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink on several occasions; one man sells pot, but only the money (no drugs) is visible in the exchange.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this risqué comedy is the last film to star popular comedian Bernie Mac, who died a few months before its release. It also stars Samuel L. Jackson; younger fans of either actor may want to see the film, but it's not being targeted to kids or teens. The jokes -- and sex scenes -- are definitely R-rated (breasts and buttocks are shown during love scenes, and there's frequent strong language and plenty of Viagra jokes). That said, despite the raunchiness, there are overarching themes of friendship, loyalty, redemption, and seizing opportunities.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byJulie P November 13, 2008

Ashame he is gone :(

Bernie Mac was a great talent. This movie is pretty funny but definitely for a mature 15 year old or not so 16+. Some is definitely boyish childish humor--but... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTotally500 December 4, 2011

Soul Men is good

This was really good movie i loved it.
Teen, 13 years old Written byEricCarrRulez January 2, 2011
Great movie! There is some profanity, and it's better for older kids instead of tweens.

What's the story?

In his final performance, Bernie Mac stars as Floyd, a retired businessman who was once in a famous Motown-like trio: Marcus Hooks and the Real Deal. When Marcus (a perfectly cast cameo by singer John Legend) -- the Marvin Gaye-meets-Michael Jackson singer who left the Real Deal behind for solo superstardom -- dies, Floyd convinces his ex-con former singing partner Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) to reunite for a tribute service at the Apollo Theater. On their way from L.A. to Harlem, the road-tripping duo warms up at various spots across the country.

Is it any good?

SOUL MEN, directed by Malcolm D. Lee, is by no means extraordinary, but it highlights Mac's comedic gifts enough to be a fitting swan song to his film career. Not only does Mac get a starring role instead of his more-frequent supporting gigs, but he's the humor to Jackson's righteousness (as in all of Jackson's films, he spouts some memorable monologues). Mac and Jackson's odd-couple chemistry propels this otherwise forgettable comedy forward, and Mac's improvisational delivery is a reminder of why he'll be sorely missed.

Mac fans should watch through the credits, which are entirely devoted to Mac's outtakes and off-camera interviews. Lee dedicated the comedy to Mac and Isaac Hayes -- "two real soul men" who died a day apart in August 2008. The latter appears as himself, the Black Moses of soul, in a small role. If for no other reason, this comedy is memorable for being their shared encore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's themes regarding second chances. How do Floyd and Louis help each other? What do they learn on their cross-country adventure? Families can also discuss how the movie handles stereotypes. Are some of the jokes exploitative? If so, why? Is this a fitting end to Mac's comedic legacy?

Movie details

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