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Movie Mom

If you see this movie, stay through the end credits to watch an interview with co-star Bernie Mac, who died not long after filming was completed. It is a better reminder of his gifts than the movie itself, a formulaic road trip that relies primarily on insults and pratfalls.

Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac play Hinds and Henderson, once part of a popular 60’s soul group. But when Marcus, their lead singer (real-life soul singer John Legend), decides to go solo, they are unable to sustain performing careers. Henderson develops a successful car wash business and Hinds ends up in jail.

Marcus goes on to become a superstar, and when he dies, VH1 organizes a tribute concert at the Apollo and invites Hinds and Henderson to perform. Henderson does not fly, so they get in Hinds’ convertible and drive across the country, fighting pretty much full-time and stopping along the way to revisit some memories and try out their act. It’s “The Sunshine Boys” with less shtick and more Viagra jokes.

Director Malcolm D. Lee (the hilarious “Undercover Brother” and the charming “Roll Bounce” but also the terrible “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins”) has a strong sense of structure and timing but too many of the jokes rely on bad language and gratuitously outrageous behavior. Jennifer Coolidge (“Best in Show,” “American Pie”) is wasted as a voracious one-night stand and Sean Hayes (“Will and Grace”) is wasted in an under-written role as the producer of the VH1 special. There are pointless detours for a stupid and abusive grille-toothed boyfriend of a young woman befriended by the duo, a doofus intern assigned to them by the producer, and an arrest just as they are about to arrive at the Apollo. But Jackson and Mac are clearly enjoying themselves, and their moments together manage to inject some fun into the story and even a little bit of soul.

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