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THE LADIES MAN

Review by Andrew Manning (10/00)

Release: 2000, Paramount
Starring: Tim Meadows, Karyn Parsons, Will Ferrell, Billy Dee Williams, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen
Director: Reginald Hudlin
MPAA Rating: [R] language, sexuality, nudity
Genre: Comedy
Running Time: 84 minutes




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SUMMARY

After losing his radio job due to FCC violations, The Ladies Man, Leon Phelps (Meadows), goes on a quest to find a Sugar Mama. Along the way, however, he learns a lesson both about life...and about himself. (Are you retching yet?)

THE SUDDEN RUNDOWN

Yet another awful Saturday Night Live movie.

WHAT'S GOOD

I enjoyed the heavy usage of the word "skank" (in fact, the boat Leon lives on is christened "The Skank-Tuary").

A culinary showdown in which the Ladies Man challenges a jerk by eating all the grotesque pickled foods lurking in jars behind the bar is one of the funnier moments.

The movie features cameos from Julianne Moore, Kids in the Hall veterans Kevin McDonald and Mark McKinney, and various SNL personnel who were no doubt roaming the studios while the film was being shot.

Finally, to cap off this short list of positives, Karyn Parsons (best known as Hilary on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) is looking fine throughout the movie.


WHAT'S BAD

Chalk this up as yet another inept Saturday Night Live skit-turned-flick in the same league as A Night at the Roxbury, It's Pat, and all that other crap that shouldn't exceed 10 minutes. The only reason I'm not harsher on this movie is because I've come to the realization that one should never going into an SNL movie expecting anything more than a couple of laughs--tops.

The best thing about Leon Phelps on SNL is that he's crude, vulgar, and doesn't hang around for an hour and a half. The main appeal of the character is just how clueless and base he is. He's best when he's talking about skanks, venereal diseases, and working his bucket of cognac. But like other throw-away SNL movies, the writers feel the character needs to be expanded upon in his transition to the big screen, and that invariably means remaking him into a touchy-feely, gentler version of Leon Phelps.

Predictably, Leon has to not only learn the important token lesson about life, but people have to learn that he's not such a bad guy after all. Melodramatic garbage like that doesn't fit on a character who is supposed to be shallow to begin with. It's the same problem that was in A Night at the Roxbury. Who cares about their emotions or dreams? They're a one-dimensional construct that shouldn't do anything but dance to that dumb song.

Of course, Will Ferrel rears his head in this movie. This time, he's a closet homosexual obsessed with male wrestling who leads a mob of angry guys against the Ladies Man. It seems Leon has screwed a lot of men's wives and girlfriends, and they've formed a support group intent on tracking him down and cutting off his nuts. (Trust me, that sounds funnier than it really is. The movie has no sense of delivery.) While Ferrel has a handful of humorous moments, which is more than he usually has in your average SNL episode, the mob is just a bunch of annoying, whining wusses. A song and dance number the mob pulls off--apparently an ill-conceived parody of Disney's Beauty and the Beast--is one of the lamest things I've seen in a while. And proving that there's not a single pair of balls in the entire group, the mob actually befriends Leon after he tells them he was banging their women for the greater good! The justification is ludicrously stupid, and yet somehow isn't even funny.

Most of you who have any desire to see this movie are probably familiar with Leon from SNL, and are probably eager to see his big screen debut, so I won't try to talk you out of seeing it. But for those who thought this would be the movie that broke the mold of the atrocious SNL movie genre, I'm here to warn you: this ain't the one.


Rating: 3.5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
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