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Movie Review

The Ladies Man is yet another lame attempt to stretch a grimy Saturday Night Live sketch into a full-length movie. Always hoping for a hit along the lines of Wayne's World, the SNL producers every year throw a fresh bucket of swill against the silver screen. Even SNL alumnus Chris Rock commented on this during SNL’s recent 25th anniversary special. "Some of the worst movies ever made were made by people in this room," he quipped.

In this one, Leon Phelps, a fashion victim of the 1970s, is the host of a late-night radio talk show called "The Ladies Man." Callers think they’re going to get general advice on romance problems, but instead the oblivious Phelps provides crude suggestions for different types of sex acts. His saintly producer, Julie, sticks with him despite the pair’s being fired by one station after another (it’s not clear why any woman would want to come within a hundred yards of the repellent Phelps). In the meantime, Leon tries to figure out who sent him an unsigned love note as he is being hunted down by a pack of cuckolded husbands whose wives have fallen for his "charms."

positive elements: None.

spiritual content: A Christian radio station mistakenly hires Phelps to host an afternoon show, and a Roman Catholic nun and the station manager are portrayed as pinch-faced prudes. The station’s logo is a drawing of Jesus striking his best Elmer Gantry pose. An angelic chorus sings “Hallelujah” when Phelps unzips his pants.

sexual content: Basically, the entire movie. Discussions of homosexuality and crude, deviant sex acts are the norm. Phelps states on his radio show that he's "done it" with many women. He tells a female caller to skip the underclothes if she wants to attract men. He tells another caller that the way to know you’re in love is when you "feel it deep down inside their pants." But The Ladies Man isn’t just all talk. A Playboy model poses completely nude (the cameras leer from the side). When she turns toward the audience, the still camera taking her picture blocks a view of full nudity. Phelps’ bare behind is shown, as are some of his sexual encounters. Other scenes of breast nudity, sexual conquest and a scene that makes a big joke out of suicide and masturbation fill the theater with an almost palatable stench. Oral sex. Anal sex. Urinating. Homoeroticism. Nothing’s off-limits.

violent content: A cuckolded husband threatens to castrate Phelps with bolt cutters. A man attempts to hang himself after finding his wife in bed with Phelps.

crude or profane language: Just about everything between the first line and the last. And profanity is only part of the picture. Crude sexual expressions abound alongside half-a-dozen s-words and other vulgarities.

drug and alcohol content: Alcohol flows freely. Phelps always has a snifter of brandy at hand. Several scenes are set in a corner bar filled with drunken patrons, who—amazingly—are meant to be sympathetic characters.

other negative elements: The most repulsive element of The Ladies Man is its underlying message: the jilted husbands got what they deserved because they weren’t providing their wives what Phelps could—and they come to agree with him, letting him off the hook!

conclusion: Roget's Thesaurus does not contain enough synonyms to describe how repulsive this movie is, and at the risk of insulting every child on earth, it’s hard to believe anyone above the age of 12 could have been involved in the making of it. The acting is amateurish, the story incoherent, the characters so flat that "one-dimensional" would be a high compliment. The producers make no pretense at art; it’s all about the Benjamins for them. Rob Friedman, Paramount's vice chairman, said recently, "Our primary goal is to create a motion picture that we believe will turn a profit but has the ability to be a breakout movie like Wayne's World." With any luck, this movie will do neither. The Ladies Man deserves a 500-mile restraining order.


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