Plot: Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) hosts a late night radio show, where he shares his wisdom about romance and helps people solve their relationship problems, though he focuses more sex than love. That is because Leon is a man of action and he has seduced many women in his time, a skill he prides himself on and even though it can be risky, he often has dalliances with married women. But little does he knows that the angry men whose women he played around are out for vengeance, led by Lance (Will Ferrell) and the latest victim, Barney (Lee Evans). Meanwhile, Leon finds himself kicked off the radio over his controversial conversations and sinking into a depression, though his producer Julie (Karyn Parsons) tries to support him. Can Leon somehow make it back to his once glorious station in life, as he fends off rivals, jealous husbands, and uptight censors, or is this the end for the ladies man?
Entertainment Value: I liked the skits with Leon Phelps from Saturday Night Live, but the transition to feature film was not a smooth one for The Ladies Man. This is a clunker that stretches the thin material to transparent levels, so even a colorful cast is unable to save this one. I can’t imagine how this concept could support a feature length movie, but the narrative chosen feels like it was rushed and just doesn’t have enough laughs. Even the funniest parts of the movie, such as the ridiculous cuckold musical number, don’t have much entertainment value. The tone shifts from light, flirtatious humor to a dark kind of comedy, which is a jarring approach, while the emotional beats feel forced and unearned. I would have rather seen Leon run loose in vignette style humor than this dull, forgettable narrative. A few scenes have some solid laughs, but overall this movie comes off as desperate and sometimes painfully unfunny. I wanted to like it, as I like Leon Phelps, but The Ladies Man is a disappointment.
I do appreciate seeing Tim Meadows in a lead role, but I wish he had better material, as he struggles here. He was Leon in the television skits of course, but the script is so lousy here, it doesn’t even seem like the same character. But I suppose it is easier to rattle off a few catchphrases than fill a feature length picture, so while Meadows does his best, he never had much of a chance here. Karyn Parsons is capable as the romantic interest and Billy Dee Williams is fun here, but neither is given much to do and their talent is more or less wasted in this one. I’m a huge fan of Will Ferrell and I think his presence adds some much needed comic presence, but even he can only do so much with this kind of weak material. I doubt anyone watched The Ladies Man for skilled thespian displays, but even so, the cast flounders with this script. The cast also includes Julianne Moore, John Witherspoon, Lee Evans, and Eugene Levy.