“Desperately unfunny.” – Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
I’ve gained somewhat of a reputation, deservedly so, of being a guy who is looking for more than just dumb humor and pointless gags in the movies I see. Sometimes, I wish I could go into a theater (who am I kidding, 99% of the movies I see I rent), leave reality for an hour and a half, and say, “who cares if this movie doesn’t make sense? Who cares if this plot is totally unbelievable? Who cares if this is yet another Saturday Night Live skit-based movie that should have remained a skit, and not a feature length movie?” I can’t wait for the day when I can say that!
Unfortunately for you all, today is not that day.
The Ladies Man, aka Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows), is a radio talk show host who gives love life advice on the radio. Often when people call in, he tells them to solve their problems, “they should do it – in the butt.” Phelps learned to get his mack on by his adoptive dad (The Ladies Man was left on the doorstep of the Playboy Mansion as a child).
There is a main plot and a subplot – trust me, you won’t have any problem what-so-ever following along as to what’s going on. The main storyline follows the Ladies Man as he loses his job due to one too many FCC complaints, and his search for both employment and true love. Accompanied by the Robin Quivers-like Julie (Karyn Parsons, better known as Hilary Violet Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”), wackyness ensues as the two look for any station that will hire them. The sub-plot involves a gang of husbands who have had their wife’s violated by the Ladies Man. The gang, led by Lance (Will Ferrell) and Barney (Lee Evans, Tucker/Norman from There’s Something About Mary), are following the Ladies Man’s trail. I felt like I saw this exact same plot in Howard Stern’s movie, Private Parts.
The story is just an excuse for the writers to hang “Ladies Man” jokes on, nothing more. There are a few funny jokes, don’t get me wrong. There’s a radio interview the Ladies Man does with a nun who goes on (and on) about how she has accepted a “missionary position” … in “Bangkok”, no less. There’s a song and dance number in the middle that made me laugh, and some of the Tim Meadow’s banter is entertaining, and that’s it. The problem with these movies is that, and if you’re in Hollywood, write this down …
NO ONE GIVES A FLYING SHIT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE LADIES MAN.
There’s not one single reason to care what’s going to happen next. There’s no suspense, there’s no climax, there’s nothing to get excited about. I’m not looking for Orson Wells here, but I’d love a plot slightly deeper than Saturday morning cartoons.
When I was younger and saw Wayne’s World, I thought it was pretty funny. Little did I know that was going to be the apex of all SNL-based movies. I mean, Wayne’s World was OK, but compared to Superstar and A Night at the Roxbury, it’s friggin’ Oscar material!! Hell, even Wayne’s World II was a classic compared to this!
The best thing I can say is, The Ladies Man isn’t the worst SNL movie of all time. The movie was watchable, but unfortunately pointless. I don’t feel like I got to know Leon Phelps any better than I already knew him from his five minute skits on Saturday Night Live. This movie should have went for the R rating, put in some funny adult jokes, and used the movie as an opportunity to do stuff that they could never get away with on the air.
Like, being funny.
(And remember the funniest clip from the trailer, where the Ladies Man knocks on a transvestite’s door, takes a look at him, and says “yeah, that’th dithguthting.” Nowhere to be found in the movie.)