The Ladies Man
**.5 BM
Starring: Tim Meadows, Karyn Parsons, Will Ferrell, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Billy Dee Williams


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BIAS ALERT: It is not without a bit of humility and a touch of shame that I admit that, for reasons not entirely clear to me, I enjoy the character of Leon Phelps, as created by Tim Meadows. He's got a delivery with the character that works - that slightly spaced out, re-stating the obvious and blithely saying filthy things without thought to the consequences. Something about this strikes me as amusing, hence my perverse, sick desire to see a Saturday Night Live skit movie which, by all that is decent and holy, I should avoid like a flaming chimp with a branding iron.

The typical SNL-based film is the cinematic equivalent of necrophilia - sure, it lasts longer, but it never feels like much effort is being put forth and it's going to take a lot of work to enjoy it. There is absolutely no reason anyone should be fooled into seeing these films anymore. I have no idea why they keep cranking these out. However, that perverse, sick desire of mine could not be ignored when the opportunity to see it for free arose. And without the looming spectre of nine bucks being wasted and with the aforementioned bias... it wasn't that bad a time.

I've always kinda liked Meadows on SNL, wishing there was better use made of him during his near-decade on the show, so I was sorta rooting for him to be funny here, and that goofball delivery with this character works sometimes. Will Ferrell is an interesting paradox for me - for some reason, I want to detest him, but I can't help but think he's all right, just because he goes so far for even the stupidest of jokes. The same thing happens here, with the Greco-Roman wrestling obsessed character he plays, the leader of a group of wronged husbands that want revenge on The Ladies Man. And Billy Dee Williams is in this movie. Hooray for Lando!

Of course, it suffers from the usual idiot-comedy drawbacks - not enough funny stuff, a completely generic and depthless love interest (Karyn Parsons) that has no believable interest in the idiot, and the fact that there just isn't enough material in a TV sketch to justify a feature film. The SNL films would be even worse if one were to watch them with no knowledge of the 'beloved' characters the films are based on - think about that for a moment. Films based on TV shows should be able to stand on their own, but if they're on thin ice even WITH the support of the show, how awful are they to someone who doesn't watch the show? With SNL's recent lean years, that hope of another "Blues Brothers" phenomenon gets slimmer and slimmer every time out.

This is one of the better SNL movies, but that isn't saying much at all.

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