Plot: What’s it about?
There must be some sort of stipulation in the contract of cast members of Saturday Night Live. Somewhre deep in the contract that says “If a skit that you are in becomes even moderately successful, we’ll make a feature-length motion picture out of it.” Maybe not. Without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite movies is “Wayne’s World”. But perhaps the worst thing to come from Wayne’s World’s success is the fact that it was so successful. Sure, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are of a different caliber than Tim Meadows and David Spade. Right? Well, no matter what you like or don’t, I think these movies might just keep coming. From “A Night at the Roxbury” to “Superstar” to “Coneheads” to “Stuart Saves His Family”, the seemingly endless swarm of skits turned movies is bound to stop sometime, but I just don’t see it in the near future. What’s next–Dog Show: The Movie? Now you may regard these comments and take it that I didn’t like The Ladies Man. Well, you’re wrong. I found The Ladies Man to be quite funny and they did the right thing by including another current SNL cast member (Will Ferrell) as the other star in this film. By shifting the focus from “The Ladies Man” to Ferrell’s “Lance” we don’t get too tired of either of the characters. Ferrell does what he does best, and that’s save the show. While The Ladies Man has some work to do, it’s got some pretty funny parts and some that made me laugh out loud, more than once.
Tim Meadows, a ten year veteran of SNL (who just left the show this season) stars as Leon Phelps. Leon is more commonly known as “The Ladies Man” as you might have guessed from the title of the movie. What’s different from the skit is the fact that you get to actually see into his life and learn a little bit more about him than his patented “Stop…” (which is surprisingly not in the movie). Leon is the host of a Chicago radio talk show that seems to offend more people than it helps. He uses graphic language to convey his points, and while some find it helpful, the FCC finds it as a way to keep fining the radio station. Leon’s Producer, Julie (Karyn Parsons) is not only a friend who puts up with his whit, but she is also the one who bears the brunt of most of his jokes and pays the bills. But while Leon isn’t offending citizens of the Windy City, he is out on the town, having sex with almost any and every fine woman who will have him. Uh yeah, that’s cool…as Leon would say. The main problem for Leon is that he has slept with so many women, that a society has been formed to hunt him down and kill him. Victims of the Smiling Ass (www.vsa.com–it’s not a real website, so don’t try) has been formed by local reject, Lance (Will Ferrell). Barney (Lee Evans) has stumbled upon their cult as he is the latest victim of Leon’s love…well, his wife actually. Leon, unknowing of his hatred by a majority of men in Chicago, goes about his business until he receives a letter from a woman who wants to marry him and live “happily ever after”.
It’s this letter that steers the course for Leon, but gives us a good look at what Julie and Leon have. Julie, a very good-looking woman can see through Leon’s charade and likes and knows him for the man he truly is. Leon, however, sees this as a chance to do nothing and get out the easy way. One thing that I neglected to mention is the fact that a majority of the scenes take place in a local pub. Billie Dee Williams is the bartender/narrator and I got to tell you that it’s him that steals the show. John Witherspoon (best known from Friday) does his usual routine, but add all of this up and you have a pretty funny movie here. While I didn’t like movies like A Night at the Roxbury and Superstar, I found the Ladies Man to be a bit entertaining. Odd, since I wasn’t a fan of the SNL skit. Keep your eyes peeled for a few cameos, including some current SNL cast members and some pretty established stars as well (Good Evening Clarice…).
Video: How does it look?
Like most new Paramount titles, The Ladies Man comes equipped with a solid-looking 1.85:1 transfer that is anamorphically enhanced. While I found the transfer to be very good, I did notice that the whole thing seemed to be a bit soft. I don’t know…maybe brown tones (as worn by Leon throughout) aren’t what it takes to show off your TV. I saw a few touches of artifacting, but nothing that looked too bad or distracted my attention from the movie, and black levels are right on target. The edges seemed to be a bit soft in some scenes, but nothing that looked purposely bad. Overall, a nice transfer, but I was expecting a bit more as this was a brand new movie to DVD.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Ladies Man doesn’t get too many chances to shine in the audio department. Presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it sounds moderate at best. The dialogue is clean and free of any distortion (but you might think otherwise while trying t decipher Leon’s lisp). Surrounds are used on occasion, but don’t get a chance to be used other than the “song and dance” scene as well as when the mob torches Leon’s houseboat. Aside from that, the soundtrack is adequate, but again nothing that I would show off my system with.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While having a bit more than some new releases (but a bit less too), The Ladies Man has a ten minute cast and crew interview featurette which talks to Tim Meadows and Tiffany Thiessen among others. Though more of a “cookie cutter” behind the scenes short, it was nice to be included. Also shown is the original theatrical trailer in anamorphic widescreen.