The Man (2005) starring Samuel L. Jackson, Eugene Levy, Miguel Ferrer, Luke Goss, Susie Essman, Anthony Mackie, Gigi Rice directed by Les Mayfield Movie Review

The Man (2005)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Eugene Levy as Andy Fiddler in The Man

Try Hard With a Dentist

Thanks to a moment of confusion a cop and a civilian are forced into becoming unlikely partners to clear things up. It is a familiar storyline used more times than I care to remember to deliver comedies surrounding mismatched buddies. In fact it's not just comedies because that set up was used in "Die Hard: With a Vengeance" which starred Samuel L. Jackson alongside Bruce Willis. So we come to "The Man" another in a long line in unlikely buddy movies which just happens to star Samuel L. Jackson but this time alongside Eugene Levy. And whilst in Jackson and Levy it has two good stars what gets delivered ends up dull, routine and to be honest not that funny, to put it simply "The Man" is forgettable.

Dental equipment salesman Andy Fiddler (Eugene Levy - American Pie: The Wedding) has headed to Detroit where he is supposed to be giving a speech to the sales force, that is until in a moment of confusion criminal Joey Kane (Luke Goss) thinks he is the man looking to buy stolen guns from him. The real man who is looking to buy guns is Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson - Coach Carter) an undercover Federal agent who is after the gun dealer because he not only stole guns from a police armoury but also killed his partner. With Kane thinking Fiddler is "The Man" Vann forces the wet behind the ears salesman to be his partner so that they can sort this mess out and catch the bad guys.

Samuel L. Jackson as Derrick Vann in The Man

To be honest there is little to say about "The Man" because everything about it is routine. We get what should be a funny moment of confusion when supplier of dental equipment Andy Fiddler gets mistaken for a man buying dodgy guns and what follows is the unlikely partnership as Fiddler and Vann have to work together to clear up the mess. It is nothing new as to start with they don't get on as Fiddler is over talkative and wet behind the ears whilst Vann is abrupt and nasty but the longer they spend together the more they bond. And that is about it with subplots such as Vann being a failure as a dad and Internal Affairs on his trail adding little but padding to drag things out.

Now of course being routine wouldn't be an issue if the humour was memorably funny but it all seems so dull. It's almost a case of missed opportunities because with Samuel L. Jackson playing the uncompromising cop Derrick Vann it is perfect for spoofing cop cliches, such as being anti establishment but there is none of that. And whilst Levy's wet behind the ears Andy Fiddler is amusing in his awkwardness it grows thin long before we get to the half way point. Not to sound disparaging "The Man" almost comes across as a bread & butter movie, made so that people had something to do rather than because anyone really thought it was that good.

Its saving grace is that both Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy are good at what they do and audiences like them. So whilst the jokes are lame and there characters are poor just watching Jackson being full of attitude and Levy being awkward manages to stop "The Man" from being totally vacant of anything good. Although having said that, having once been a fan of "Bros" it is nice to watch Luke Goss even if his bad guy character Joey Kane is rather ordinary.

What this all boils down to is that "The Man" really is just another unlikely buddy movie, the sort which gets made every few years and never seems to add anything new to the formula. Its one saving grace is that it stars Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy who may struggle with poor characters at least make some of the humour work.