By Chris Gore | October 12, 2000

“The Ladies Man” is one of the most consistently funny sketches on Saturday Night Live. I’ll actually put down the remote to watch Tim Meadows’ suave character Leon Phelps. Like the sketch, the movie features Phelps as a radio talk show host who offers advice on women, specifically, how to most effectively use your “wang” to seduce them. After getting canned from his job, Leon is down and out until he receives a letter from a woman who wants to run away with him and her millions. She signs it “sweet thing” which could be any one of thousands of women that Leon has banged. He is now on a Cinderella-like search to find his lady and cash in on her fortune. Trouble arises when a support group of men who’ve had their wives and girlfriends bedded by Leon, come after him for retribution. The mob is led by SNL cohort Will Farrel, who is genuinely funny as a professional athlete who obsesses a little too much about his wrestling partner Brian. Yep, he’s gotta be Gay. The band of merry men come after Leon with the intention of cutting off his nuts. There’s a predictable romantic subplot, and plenty of jokes you’ve already seen in the sketch. Billy Dee Williams plays a bartender who narrates the “fable” and he plays it totally straight. I wanted to see Billy Dee kicks some a*s or at least make light of his Colt 45 persona. I mean, they cast Lando-frickin’-Calrissian and they don’t even use him!
Tim Meadows lisping Leon Phelp’s character is about as politically incorrect as you can get with his out of style clothes and out of touch views on women. Which is even more bizarre to me having just seen Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled.” The two films might make a great double feature in terms or the do’s and don’ts of how to approach race in film. (Strangely, Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” is the funnier of the two.)
Like recent SNL films such as “Superstar” and “Night at the Roxbury”, “The Ladies Man” movie makes a better sketch than it does a film. I want to say that the same jokes over and over sustain for 95 minutes, but they don’t. In fact, they get tired after about the first 15 minutes and ultimately left me limp. What’s most disappointing is that the film is rated R, yet fails to take the humor to the next level. I kept waiting for some kind of R rated humor other than throwing around a few naughty words. Lorne Michæls has crapped out another one that is only worth catching when it finally makes its way to cable.

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