October 19, 2000

Saturday Night Fever

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Certainly anyone with the slightest sense of humor can get a laugh or two out of the five-minute Saturday Night Live (SNL) television sketch featuring the suave and soulful Tim Meadows in his experiences of unfaltering luck with the ladies. But unfortunately, after ninety minutes of Meadows’ politically incorrect smooth talking, his move to Tinseltown as leading man Leon Phelps (aka the Ladies Man) proves to be a weak and disappointing attempt at best.

With his ’70s flare and Afro hair, Leon entertains the residents of Chicago during his late night radio program, dishing out crude advice concerning sex and love. But Leon’s fame and fortune on the airwaves quickly take a predictable turn when he, along with his producer Julie, get fired for the program’s offensive and outspoken topics of discussion.

The story proceeds with little suspense or excitement, as Leon attempts to locate a new radio job. When he receives an anonymous letter from an ex-lover willing to solve his financial, as well as physical, needs, Leon experiences turmoil in the form of his yearning to recall his admirer.

If nothing else, supporting roles in The Ladies Man are guaranteed to cause flashbacks to your pre-teen television watching days. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen plays the same 90210 vixen on the big screen as Honey, the secret lady lusting for Leon. And Karyn Parsons (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)is Leon’s producer who falls for the innocent and sweet Ladies Man. But both actresses, surprisingly (?), fall short of stealing the silver screen.

Even Will Ferrell (SNL), in his role as Honey’s husband with a vengeance for Leon, could not salvage the film from monotony.

So why does The Ladies Man fail to please his audience in the same manner with which he manages to lure and maintain his on-screen admirers?

First off, the viewer could find the direction of Reginald Hudlin to fall just short of a Spielberg. Reginald who, you ask? Exactly.

Also, a plot centered around the lusting of females over an unconventional sex symbol rings a few bells in the old memory bank. Hey, wasn’t there a film (or two) about a crooked-toothed British spy agent from the ’60s? Yeah, baby.

But who really thought the most recent SNL flick in a chain of disappointments would be a break-through in quality entertainment?

So go for some light laughs and outspoken entertainment, but fellas, don’t waste your time perfecting a lisp or scouring the VOA for polyester pants: Your chances of getting a date out of this movie are as slim as The Ladies Man taking home an Oscar.

Archived article by Kristen Jones