The Ladies Man (2000) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for sexual content, some nudity, and language
Running Time: 84 min.
Cast: Tim Meadows, Karyn Parsons, Billy Dee Williams, Will Ferrell
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Screenplay: Tim Meadows, Dennis McNicholas, Andrew Steele
Review published October 16, 2000
Leon Phelps, aka The Ladies Man, is one of my favorite recurring skits on the recent Saturday night Live, so I was both surprised and even delighted that this film had been made. Unfortunately, like the other recent SNL characters given their own films (SUPERSTAR, A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY), what works for five minutes smashingly becomes repetitive and boring when stretched out for 90 minutes. The major reason for this comes from the problem that the characters, while funny for small durations, are too difficult to believe when inspecting them for longer lengths of time, especially when it places them in the "real world".
Leon Phelps is a smooth-talking but obliviously stupid casanova, almost an out of place character from the 70s, with large afro and pimpish outfits, who has his own radio talk show to give advice to others. The problem is that much of his advice results in Leon imparting such pearls of wisdom as encouraging men to get their lady friends to let them "do it in da butt" and in others exulting the joys of "doin' it doggystyle". The humor value of this can be funny, and often hilarious, oh for about five minutes (the typical length of THE LADIES MAN on SNL), but becomes boring as the same note is rung about 100 times over the next hour and a half. Not only is Leon phelps a shallow human being, but he's also written very shallowly, and often inconsistently, striking out time-after-time with women while always seeming to get them in the sack anyway.
THE LADIES MAN does offer some occasional laughs, concentrated in the very beginning scenes when we haven't grown tired of watching him, but not enough to keep the attention of anyone, including fans of the character on SNL. One might compare the experience of watching THE LADIES MAN to eating an apple. Eating an apple within a couple of minutes can provide some momentary satisfaction, but eating that same apple over the length of a couple of hours is just plain tedious. THE LADIES MAN on SNL is funny, but as a movie this is one apple that will most likely keep the doctor (and everyone else) away.
©2000 Vince Leo