More Reviews

Reviews by Dr. Frank Swietek   

LADIES MAN, THE 
F 
Producer  Lorne Michaels 
Director  Reginald Hudlin 
Writer  Tim Meadows, Dennis McNicholas and Andrew Steele 
Starring Tim Meadows  Karyn Parsons  Billy Dee Williams  Tiffani Thiessen  Lee Evans 
Will Ferrell       
Studio  Paramount Pictures 
Review  Tim Meadows enters the contest for worst feature ever made from a "Saturday Night Live" sketch with this simultaneously vulgar and boring tale about Leon Phelps, the dense, smarmy radio-TV host who lisps out gross recollections of his supposed sexual prowess and obnoxious advice to listeners. The recurrent television segments featuring the character, at about five minutes or so, were already grotesquely overextended; running nearly an hour and a half, this padded bigscreen version, in which the title dope loses his job and comes to the realization that his ex-producer Julie (Karyn Parsons) is his true love, seems to drag on for an eternity. It's also completely laughless: the so-called jokes represent nothing but a string of crudities and moronic non-sequiturs. When even the wonderful Eugene Levy can't wring the slightest smile out of a turn as Phelps' odious station manager, you know the picture's in deep trouble.

It's clear, therefore, that "The Ladies Man" is a putrid mess. But the category in which it's vying for recognition is fiercely competitive. Can it emerge victorious in the face of the stomach-churning creepiness of Molly Shannon's "Superstar" or the grisly redundancies of "A Night at the Roxbury" with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan? Certainly it tries by flogging the same miserable situations endlessly, in imitation of the latter, and by providing Ferrell (again) with a monologue as disgusting as anything in the former. And to top things off, it inserts a Busby Berkeley-style musical number for Ferrell and a male chorus that one could only wish were a literal show-stopper. It's undeniable that "The Ladies Man" is awful: at one point Phelps ruefully declares that his life sucks, and one can only add that his movie does, too.

But "Superstar" and "Roxbury" also stank up the screen relentlessly. Which to declare the victor as worst SNL picture ever made? Happily, an outside event intrudes to decide the matter. A supremely oblivious and inconsiderate woman in the row behind the reviewer takes several calls on her cell phone during the screening, and the interruption provided by her babbling proves more a respite than an annoyance. Only in the case of one of the lousiest movies of all time could the abomination which is a telephone conversation in a crowded theatre have a salutary effect. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner: Meadows' sniggering atrocity takes the crown by a whisker.

But remember, there are other lousy SNL skits still lurking out there, all threatening to become appalling features. Be afraid, be very afraid.  

Copyright 2001-2014.  This material may not be reproduced or used without express permission from the author.