The Ladies Man

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Obviously, the folks at “Saturday Night Live” have given up on the idea of making another really good movie based on characters from the show. They know now that even if they just use moderately popular characters — like “The Ladies Man,” for example — they’ll make a profit because hey, these things don’t cost a whole lot to make in the first place.

“The Ladies Man” is based on the series of sketches in which Tim Meadows — a long-time “SNL”er who went for years without his own recurring character — plays a radio call-in host who offers smutty, sexually explicit advice to people’s “romantic queries.” While occasionally amusing, the character was never outstanding, though Meadows has always been a likable performer.

Such is the movie based on the character: occasionally amusing (I counted three legitimate laugh-out-loud laughs and a handful of chuckles), still without any outstanding characters (the Ladies Man himself is one-note all the way), but still lifted slightly by the sheer likability of Meadows.

In the film, Leon Phelps — aka The Ladies Man — and his producer, Julie (Karyn Parsons) are fired from the radio station due to the explicit nature of Leon’s on-air dialogue with callers. Unable to find work anywhere else, Leon begins to despair, though this doesn’t stop him from continuing to have sex with every single woman he can possibly have sex with.

One such woman’s husband, Barney (a cloying, irritating, unfunny Lee Evans), catches them in the act and chases a naked Leon out the window. All he can see is Leon’s “Have a Nice Day” smiley face tattooed on his butt. Using that as his only clue, he looks around the Internet and discovers a support group for men who have also been victims of this unknown fornicator: “Victims of the Smiling A**,” they’re called, and their leader is a Greco-Roman wrestling aficionado named Lance (“SNL” cast member Will Ferrell). This group eventually learns Leon’s identity and sets out to kill him, though they burst into a well-choreographed song-and-dance number first (one of the film’s few legitimately funny moments).

Meanwhile, Leon has received a note from a woman he once called “Sweet Thing” who is rich and wants to run off with him. Trouble is, he calls EVERYONE “Sweet Thing,” and with so many notches on his waterbed, it’s hard to figure out who this one is.

It’s hard not to smile at a character like Leon, who is so oblivious to the fact that he’s a tactless moron, smiling rather sincerely as he tells a woman that it looks like someone put “two fine, honey-baked hams in the back of your dress.”

Obviously, that’s not enough to carry a movie, and while Meadows is likable and often makes his lines a little funnier than they should be, the film is still chock-full of dreadfully, painfully, grossly unfunny moments. About the best thing I can say about “The Ladies Man” is that it’s not unbearable to watch … and that’s not really much of a compliment, is it?

D+ (; R, scattered profanities, abundant sexual.)

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