Not Much Love
Watching "The Ladies' Man" I kept on thinking of another love god, Lenny Henry's Theophilus P Wildebeeste as Henry's creation and Tim Meadows' Leon Phelps are not that too dissimilar. They both are amusing love god characters, set in different eras but amount to the same thing. Unfortunately for Meadows someone though that his SNL creation would be good in a movie as history as taught us these sort of characters and most of those which appear on SNL are fine in small doses but don't have enough to sustain 90 minutes. And that is again the truth with "The Ladies' Man" as whilst the opening is funny enough it doesn't have the legs to last the distance and becomes dull after about 20 minutes.
Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) is a love god, bedding one woman after another with his 70s styling whilst also hosting his own radio show with the help of producer Julie (Karyn Parsons). But Leon's on air antics are too much for studio boss Bucky Kent (Eugene Levy) and fires them both. With no one wanting to hire the risque Leon life is tough especially when a group of disgruntled husbands are trying to track him down to chop his balls off. Leon's only hope is a letter from an anonymous lover who says she will look after him, the only trouble is Leon has no idea who it is from.
To put it simply the first 20 minutes of "The Ladies' Man" works as we are introduced to Leon and his world, from doing his risque radio show to picking up and bedding women. There is some clever writing going on in these first 20 minutes from Leon's love boat to Lester the barman's narration about him. In fact during these opening 20 minutes the comedy is so good you begin to wonder whether it is going to buck the trend and actually be one of those rare SNL movies which can sustain the fun for 90 minutes.
But then like so many SNL movies after those 20 minutes it struggles because it then has to shift away from the humour of the character to a storyline and what we get are two rather lame ones. We have Leon trying to track down the writer of the love letter and then the husbands trying to track Leon down. Neither of these are that good and whilst fans of Will Ferrell will love the fact he plays the leader of the husbands those who don't care for Ferrell will not be any more impressed. It still has some funny moments and some typically crass moments including a scene involving pickled bar snacks but it simply struggles to be entertaining.
The one thing it really has going for it is that Tim Meadows as Leon comes over as a delusional but likeable guy who isn't nasty, just living in his own 70s world. If it wasn't for the fact Meadows makes Leon likeable this would have been painful from start to finish even with some entertaining cameos from Billy Dee Williams, Karyn Parsons, Lee Evans and Tiffani Thiessen.
What this all boils down to is that "The Ladies' Man" is a typical SNL movie which gives us an entertaining opening 20 minutes of character based humour but then struggles when the focus shifts from character to a storyline.