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The Daily Tar Heel

SNL Spin-off `Ladies Man' Lacks Plot, Humor, Quality

By Justin Winters

Staff Writer

1 1/2 stars

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back into theaters after the odorous atrocities of "It's Pat" and "Superstar" had been cleared, the latest "Saturday Night Live" skit-turned-movie "The Ladies Man" has landed.

And, boy oh boy, is it the bomb, or a bomb if you catch my hip lingo.

Just retired from the variety show, after years of being ridiculed as the constant "man in the mooshpot" of "Saturday Night Live"'s duck-duck-goose catapult to stardom, Tim Meadows tries his darnedest to make his signature character Leon Phelps, a.k.a "The Ladies Man," a Wayne or Garth success rather than a Deuce Bigalow afterthought.

Well, Deuce, make room on the couch for "The Ladies Man," because he is as distressingly boring as a weekday night without a Davis Library masturbatory controversy, a football game without mini pompoms or even a quiet evening alone with Al Gore.

Meadows plays Chicago's Howard Stern of love, Leon Phelps, a radio host whose constant chatter about "problems with the wang" and "funky butt love" often get him in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission. His free time is spent hanging out at the "Cheers"-esque pub down the street and working his strange voodoo appeal on oft-married young ladies, who he always calls his "Sweet Thang."

The biggest problem with this "Man," besides the painfully obvious fact that it makes a better three-minute skit than an 85-minute feature film, is its utter lack of laughs or plot. Adam Sandler seems to be the only "SNL" alum who can pull off being in a successful plotless comedy. Meadows isn't so lucky, and the script seems to rely on shaping an entire story around a funny character rather than placing him in a funny idea for a movie.

The "bad guys" of the movie, led by a Greco-wrestling villain (the hilarious Will Farrell of "SNL"), provide the only truly chuckle-inducing laugh, a musical montage that seems out-of-place only because it makes everything else seem as bad as it really is.

Every unfortunate character seems a cardboard cutout, and cameos by actors such Billy Dee Williams of "Star Wars" fame and Julianne Moore are surely things that make you go hmmm .

Meadows is left, at the end of the film, as the biggest casualty. Forgetting "Man" and its malignancy, he must look forward to being the side man on Michael "Kramer of Seinfeld" Richards' new TV show, a spot unjustly inferior to the $20 million paydays of superstars like Sandler or Mike Myers.

But, you never know. Maybe Meadows should just take his medicine and wait in line, or maybe he should go back to "SNL" and beg for his job back. Either way, "Ladies' Man" will undoubtedly be saved a spot in the show's hall of shame.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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