Soul Men appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie came with a reasonably good transfer.
Only mild problems connected to sharpness. Though a lot of the flick seemed accurate and concise, a few shots looked slightly soft and ill-defined. These were minor issues, though, so expect the majority of the film to provide good delineation. I witnessed no jagged edges or shimmering, and I saw no signs of edge enhancement. Source flaws were absent as well.
In terms of colors, Soul Men provided a nice array of hues. The stage segments offered good opportunities for lively tones, and the transfer brought them out in a satisfying way. Blacks appeared dark and tight, but shadows were a bit dense. Some low-light shots seemed a little more opaque than I’d like. Despite a few minor issues, I thought the flick usually looked quite good.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Soul Men seemed fine for the material. Music dominated and showed good stereo presence. Various effects added decent life to the proceedings, especially during the scenes on the road. These didn’t provide great pizzazz, but they contributed a good sense of place. The surrounds kicked in some reinforcement but not much else; I heard a few cars drive to the rear and that was about it.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded natural and concise, and effects followed suit. Those elements didn’t do much to tax my sound system, but they were clear and accurate. Music appeared solid, as the songs provided fine life and vivacity. Overall, this was a low-key but perfectly acceptable soundtrack.
Soul Men comes with a decent complement of extras. We begin with an audio commentary from director Malcolm D. Lee and writers Matt Stone and Rob Ramsey. The sit together for a running, screen-specific chat that looks at the project’s origins and development, script and story notes, cast and performances, locations, music, and other production elements.
Expect an energetic and bawdy commentary. The movie includes a great deal of profanity and the guys here reflect that. They also provide a lot of laughs and facts. The track moves at a good pace, as we get a mix of frank remarks, jokes and info. I don’t think much of Soul Men as a movie, but the commentary does well for itself.
A few featurettes follow. The Soul Men: Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson goes for nine minutes, 30 seconds and includes Lee, producers Charles Castaldi, David T. Friendly, and Steven Greener, and actors Bernie Mac, Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Herschman and Jennifer Coolidge. The show looks at the main cast, their characters, and their performances. Some fluffiness results, but a mix of decent details come along for the ride as well. Don’t expect a lot, but we find some nice notes about the actors’ work.
For the seven-minute and 41-second The Cast of Soul Men, we hear from Jackson, Friendly, Greener, Castaldi, Lee, Coolidge, Herschman, and actors Sharon Leal, Affion Crockett, and John Legend. “Cast” works the same way as “Soul Men”; it just focuses on the rest of the movie’s actors. Actually, it feels a bit less insightful and somewhat fluffier, but it still includes some interesting moments.
More info about the filmmaker arrives with Director Malcolm Lee. It runs two minutes, 50 seconds as it provides notes from Greener, Castaldi, Coolidge, Crockett, Herschman, Leal, and Lee. Mostly the featurette tells us how wonderful Lee is. Expect little else from it.
Two remembrances come next. We find A Tribute to Bernie Mac (7:26) and A Tribute to Isaac Hayes (4:03). Across these, we hear from Jackson, Lee, Mac, Leal, Herschman, Crockett, Castaldi, and Hayes’ son Darius. As tributes, I expected these pieces to be pretty fluffy, and they were. But that’s appropriate, and they offer nice send-offs for the deceased actors.
Boogie Ain’t Nuttin’: Behind the Scenes fills two minutes, 31 seconds. It shows remarks from Lee but mostly offers a look at the elements that went into the musical sequence in question. I especially like the glimpses from the recording studio.
Finally, Bernie Mac at the Apollo goes for four minutes, 17 seconds. It throws in some remarks from Lee and Mac but it mostly lets us see some of the stand-up Mac did between takes at the movie’s “Apollo”. That makes it a fun extra.
Some ads open the disc. We get promos for Fanboys, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Longshots, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The disc also includes the trailer for Soul Men.
If you hoped that Soul Men would provide a good swansong for Bernie Mac, you’ll be disappointed. He and co-star Samuel L. Jackson do their best to enliven the proceedings, but the messy melange of comedy and drama fails to entertain. The DVD provides satisfying picture and audio along with a smattering of extras highlighted by a very good commentary. I can’t complain about the DVD, but I don’t think much of the movie.