Movie Review
The Man
The Man poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published September 16, 2005
US Release: September 9, 2005

Directed by: Les Mayfield
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson , Eugene Levy , Luke Goss

PG-13
Running Time: 83 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $8,326,035
D+
You will rack your brain trying to figure out how someone actually doled out money to create this thing.
Here we have a perfunctory comedy of the highest magnitude. If you can wring an ounce of laughter out of this offering, you're a better filmgoer than I am. I mentioned in my review of Exorcism of Emily Rose (C) that we are now seeing horror movies with no scares; The Man shows that there are also a fair amount of comedies without laughs (see also the upcoming Fun with Dick & Jane). The disturbing trends in film are piling up like beefy men in a NFL tackle.

This movie is a formula recipe with no spice. Samuel L. Jackson plays a tough black Federal agent, and Eugene Levy plays a nerdy white dental supplies salesman. They collide with each other due to convenient misunderstandings (the greatest of all movie plot devices), and are forced to work together to crack the big case. Doesn?t sound stupid or stereotypical at all, does it?

There are just no brains or wit behind this movie. It's so flat, so uninspired, and so off-key that it actually becomes thought provoking: you will rack your brain trying to figure out how someone actually doled out money to create this thing. And you will feel cheated if you doled out money to see it. The Man is short, with bad dialogue and even worse jokes. Did I mention how bad the jokes are? I would probably laugh more watching an episode of any given sitcom. Fart humor is supposed to be one of the high points. They want us to think that Eugene Levy passing gas is hysterical, with no context or actual reason why it should be humorous. Basically, all the comedic "heavy lifting" is done by Levy, who - I hate to break it - isn't really too funny in general. Here he plays almost the same role as he did in the American Pie trilogy: an awkwardly avuncular dad who is so polite and nice that he can't possibly be real. His shtick is way too shticky and it doesn't work at all in this film; it would at least need some well-written yuks behind it.

And Sam Jackson plays very badly in this flick. He is violent, unlikable, and not funny. It's basically his character from Pulp Fiction as conceived years later by a total hack. Why did he do this movie, you might ask? I don't have the answer, and I think his fans will just pretend this thing never happened. He's done too many good movies to lose all respect for this one. But it just makes you wonder when stars take these dismal roles: is their agent to blame? Do these actors just not even read the script, or only read a little bit? Do they actually have no brainpower, merely pawned around by the rare talented director or writer? These are strange and tough questions to ponder, but what else would you expect in the bizarro funhouse world we call current reality?

This movie stinks in the way that makes you sadly realize that most movies are indeed a waste of time. Not that most movies are this bad, but ones that are this bad highlight the flaws inherent in all cinema. For me, even movies that I really want to see end up being disappointing more often than not. I only saw The Man because I felt it was my civic duty as a critizen (and it was free), and it stunk as much as I thought it might. Believe me, you're probably not going to enjoy it, even as throwaway material. Stay away and let it disappear from your consciousness.
Scott's Grade: D+
Scott's Overall Grading: 417 graded movies
A15.1%
B59.2%
C24.5%
D1.2%
F0.0%
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'The Man' Articles
  • Lee's review D+
    September 10, 2005    This is one of the worst screenplays I?ve ever been in the presence of. -- Lee Tistaert
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