THE MAN (Les Mayfield, 2005)
Wisconsin dental supply salesman Andy Fidler, played by Eugene Levy, happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time in THE MAN. Through what must be the least efficient means of arranging a blind buy, Andy is mistaken for Samuel L. Jackson’s Special Agent Vann, who is trying to catch the seller of guns stolen from the police vault. The criminal’s error makes Andy’s help imperative, so Vann detains him to help crack the case.
On those occasions when I see a really terrible movie, it can feel like the life force has been drained from me. Watching THE MAN left me feeling downright sluggish. THE MAN is a stale mismatched buddy comedy in which not a single interesting thing happens. Far too much time and energy is devoted to the investigation and Vann’s failed personal life, elements which are secondary to the humorous tension that is supposed to exist between Andy and Vann. The only remotely amusing moment is when Vann is required to attest to his subservience to Andy—in other words, proclaiming that he is Andy’s bitch to the gunrunners—but even that isn’t as funny as it sounds. THE MAN delivers not one but two scenes about Andy’s noxious flatulence, one with an elevator full of nuns, a joke so shopworn that it’s amazing it made the cut, so to speak. It’s a strong indication of the screenplay’s lack of originality that even the most overused jokes get repeated. Unsurprisingly, that makes THE MAN one of the year’s worst films.