Soul Man

Year: 1986
Production Co: Steve Tisch Company, The
Director: Steve Miner
Producer: Steve Tisch
Writer: Carol Black
Cast: C Thomas Howeel, Rae Dawn Chong, James B Sikking, James Earl Jones, Leslie Nielsen, Max Wright, Julia-Louise Dreyfuss

C Thomas Howell made a big splash once. Before this, he'd found success everywhere from a bit part in The Outsiders. After it - and it might surprise you to learn he's still around - he's been one of the most prolific B grade, straight to video actors and directors in the business.

But The Hitcher and this comedy came in rapid succession and Howell's stocks were never higher. He plays rich teen Mark whose father (Sikking), at the urging of a shrink (Wright, the Dad from Alf), decides to give him his 'manhood' by letting Mark pay his own way in college - a hefty bill since he's been accepted into Harvard Law School.

Mark hatches an outrageous scheme, chemically tanning his skin and posing as a black guy in order to get in on a scholarship.

He falls for pretty single mother student Sarah (Chong), tries to curry favour with a no-nonsense professor (Jones), learns the truth about what it means to be African American thanks to entrenched racism and finally gets a crash course in achieving results through hard work instead of coasting through life.

The laughs are well crafted and genuine and it wasn't one of the big hits of the late 80s for nothing.

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