The Ladies Man
Ooh baby. Leon (Meadows) takes on the world...
dir Reginald Hudlin
scr Tim Meadows, Andrew Steele, Dennis McNicholas
with Tim Meadows, Karyn Parsons, Billy Dee Williams, Lee Evans, Will Ferrell, Tiffani Thiessen, Eugene Levy, John Witherspoon, Jill Talley, Sofia Milos, David Huband, Julianne Moore
release US 13.Oct.00; UK 13.Jul.01
Paramount
00/US 1h24

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Here's yet another Saturday Night Live movie that makes you wonder why it was ever made ... and why it was released at all in the UK (most SNL films aren't). Comic Tim Meadows is at least a gifted performer; his sketch character Leon Phelps is actually an endearing creation--a guy who has never lost his '70s vibe and despite his ineptness still does have a way with the ladies. The plot, as it were, has him losing his radio phone-in job due to on-air vulgarity, so he and his producer Julie (Parsons) hit the streets looking for work. Then Leon gets a letter from a wealthy admirer who he can't quite remember, requiring him to revisit his little black book and stirring the ire of all the cuckolded husbands he has left in his wake (most notably Ferrell and Evans).

This movie never knows what it's trying to be, ricocheting from slapstick to social satire by way of gross-out comedy, caper mayhem, revenge fantasy and even tender romance. As a result, it just seems to go on and on, never arriving at either a point or a satisfying conclusion. Despite some charm, the film is resolutely unfunny, with long joke set-ups leading to flat pay-offs. The only thing that keeps us watching is Meadows, who somehow brings a naive innocence to the sleazy Leon. Everyone else seems to be in a different film altogether: Parsons' classy Julie, Williams' velvet-voiced bartender/narrator, Ferrell's cartoonish vigilante, Thiessen's satin-clad seductress, Witherspoon and Tally's boozy barflies, and so on. Evans is terrible as an accident-prone jealous husband; Levy is wasted entirely; and what is Moore (as one of Leon's exes) doing here at all? In addition, extended sequences tear the story apart from the inside--long flashbacks giving us Leon's and Julie's back stories, as well as a full-on Hollywood song and dance extravaganza that's both impeccable and inexplicable. Please, keep SNL characters in five-minute sketches on the small screen where they belong!
adult themes and situations, innuendo, vulgarity cert 15 10.Jul.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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