Aug 11, 2014

Review: The Ladies Man (2000)

Saturday Night Live has spawned lots of movies based off of its skits. The Blues Brothers is obviously a big one here as is Wayne's World. Make no mistake, there are some pretty awful SNL movies as well but they seem still be able to create their own fans who are quick to defend them. MacGruber is the only one I've seen that I'd lump into the bad category but I know it has its fans though. A Night at the Roxbury anyone?

The question is if The Ladies Man is a good or bad SNL movie. Judging from the critical and audience reception, it would seem like TLM is clearly a bad one. It even ended up being a box office flop at the time. I've pretty much never seen a complete SNL episode in my life but maybe Leon Phelps is a funny recurring character. In fact, I'm sure he is. But as the main character in a feature film? His act gets old real fast.

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Genre: comedy
Directed by: Reginald Hudlin
Produced by: Lorne Michaels, Albert Botha, Erin Fraser, etc.
Written by: Tim Meadows, Dennis McNicholas, Andrew Steele
Music by: Marcus Miller
Running time: 84 minutes
Production company: SNL Studios
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures, United International Pictures, NBC, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $24,000,000
Box office: $13,616,610 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Tim Meadows, Karyn Parsons, Billy Dee Williams, John Witherspoon, Jill Talley, Lee Evans, Will Ferrell, Sofia Milos, Eugene Levy, David Huband, Jammer, Ken Hudson Campbell, Kevin McDonald, Tamala Jones, Julianne Moore, Tiffani Thiessen, Rocky Carroll
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Synopsis

 

Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) is self-nicknamed "The Ladies Man" for all of his many sexual exploits throughout the years. Raised in what looks like the Playboy Mansion before being kicked out, he develops a keen sense of knowing what women want and being able to satisfy them. He has a radio show that runs late in the night where Leon answers callers who ask question about love and relationships. After one complaint too many, Leon is fired and along with his producer Julie Simmons (Karyn Parsons), tries to find a job in radio elsewhere. At the same time, Leon receives a letter from a past lover identifying herself as "sweet thing," that will apparently end all his money problems. The issue is Leon calls every woman "sweet thing."

Review


The plot in The Ladies Man is unsurprisingly thin. It could easily just be a collection of skits, but it isn't. It's a little under an hour and a half but by the thirty minute mark, everything feels pretty stale. Leon Phelps is only really funny for a while before simply coming off as a complete buffoon. Buffoons can be funny but it's about finding the right balance which Leon Phelps doesn't in the least. There was only really one scene that I actually found to be pretty funny which consisted of Leon working at a Christian radio station which had him interviewing a nun. This occurred within the first thirty minutes, leaving the rest of the movie pretty much devoid of any laughs.

Tim Meadows is a funny guy and I'm sure he was great on SNL. But writing for a movie is not the same thing as writing skits. Another SNL cast mate who has a role is Will Ferrell and strangely enough he doesn't bring any energy whatsoever in his role. Ferrell isn't for everyone but I typically find him pretty funny. He disappointed in The Ladies Man though and what's kind of weird is that Anchorman strangely echos the kind of vibe Leon Phelps has got going on as well as what he goes through is similar to what Ron Burgundy goes through. Leon is stuck in the 70's while Anchorman is set in the 70's. Leon loses his job because he's a sexist idiot while that's also the same kind of same situation Ron Burgundy suffers through. Throw in a collection of men carrying a bunch of different weapons and we got those famous fight scenes from Anchorman. Anyway, it's just kind of funny. The only big difference between Ron and Leon is that one works in TV and the other in radio. I'll take off my tinfoil hat now.

Getting back to The Ladies Man, it's really quite sad how low it stoops. The worst of it all culminates in an eating contest between Leon and Cyrus Cunningham (Rocky Carroll), who is the ex-boyfriend of Julie. They eat a collection of disgusting things out of jars where one of them actually contains human shit. No joke. It's the kind of thing I find really insulting to anyone's intelligence. Everyone is better than shit jokes.

Despite it's weak and mind numbingly predictable story, how could it be that there are so few laughs throughout The Ladies Man? I can understand there not being a great story but with so few laughs TLM isn't worth anyone's time. It's a comedy with a goal of being funny which it isn't. Tim Meadows' character gets stale way too quick and besides him what is there? Yeah it's nice seeing Billy Dee Williams but then there is that completely bonkers cameo from Julianne Moore. The Ladies Man fails miserably in its quest for comedy and it firmly belongs in the category of bad SNL movies.

 

Rating


4.5/10