It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"The Ladies Man" is yet another desperately unfunny feature-length spin-off from "Saturday Night Live," a TV show that would not survive on local access if it were as bad as most of the movies it inspires. There have been good "SNL" movies, like "Wayne's World," "The Blues Brothers" and "Stuart Saves His Family." They all have one thing in common: "SNL" producer Lorne Michaels was not primarily responsible for them.
Michaels had nothing to do with "Stuart" and "Blues Brothers." Credit for the glories of the "Wayne's World" pictures, which he did produce, should arguably go to with their directors and stars. Mike Myers went on to "Austin Powers." Michaels went on to "Coneheads," "Superstar," "A Night at the Roxbury," and now "The Ladies Man." If I were a Hollywood executive, I would automatically turn down any Michaels "SNL" project on the reasonable grounds that apart from the Mike Myers movies, he has never made a good one. He doesn't even come close. His average star rating for the last four titles is 1.125. Just to put things in perspective, the last three Pauly Shore movies I reviewed scored 1.5.
"The Ladies Man," directed by Reginald ("House Party") Hudlin, stars Tim Meadows as Leon Phelps, a boundless enthusiastic seducer who seems stylistically and ideologically stuck in the sexist, early 1970s. The character, with his disco suits and giant afro, is funny on TV--but then so are most of the recurring "SNL" characters; that's why the show recycles them. At feature length, Leon loses his optimistic charm and slogs through a lame-brained formula story that doesn't understand him.
He plays a radio talk show host in Chicago (i.e., Toronto with CTA buses), who offers late-night advice to the sexually challenged. (To one lonely lady who can't seem to meet the right guy: "Take yo panties off and hang out at the bus station.") In real life he has extraordinary luck picking up girls, for reasons perhaps explained in one scene where he displays his equipment to a girl he's just met. We can't share the sight because he's standing on the other side of the bar, but from the way her face lights up while angelic music swells on the soundtrack, his pants obviously contain a spotlight and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.