Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Eugene Levy, Luke Goss, Horatio Sanz
Director: Les Mayfield
ALSO! Check out where it ranked in our 2005 Year in Review.
A comedy should only be measured by the number of laughs it receives, because no matter how funny the concept, the film is a complete failure if it doesn’t achieve this simple task. Using this principle, “The Man” is one of the biggest failures of the year. Not only was the movie not funny enough to laugh at, but it generated only a few smirks along the way and made me seriously contemplate the future of Samuel L. Jackson’s career. There are more humorous stories about paint drying I’d rather hear than watch this piece of shit, but at least it wasn’t a total letdown. No one was really looking forward to this film anyway.
Jackson appears in yet another throwaway role as Derrick Vann, a federal agent who’s been tossed on to IAD’s watch list after his partner was murdered during an arms robbery that he was in on. Determined to get the guns back into federal custody before they’re sold, Vann uses a local street punk to set up a buy. But when a routine meet is unknowingly interrupted by Andy (Eugene Levy), a dental supply salesman from Wisconsin, Vann is forced to use him as the purported buyer until he can bust the criminals for the intent to sell the stolen guns. And as you can imagine, wacky tomfoolery ensues.
The senseless plot is one in which moviegoers are familiar with, but the 80’s buddy action-comedy mold is definitely showing signs of wear. Actually, it was showing signs of wear in the 90’s, yet studios continue to release at least a handful of these movies each year. The film struggles to stay interesting throughout the brief 79-minute runtime, with weak comedic moments and childish farting gags, but it’s hardly fair to blame the film’s stars for at least trying to make each joke work.
The concept of matching Jackson and Levy together onscreen was a brilliant one, but the results aren’t visible. Instead, Jackson plays another watered-down version of Jules from “Pulp Fiction” - going so far as to mimic the phrase “it’s a tasty hamburger” - while Levy is in charge of the eccentric behavior. This would work well if it wasn’t for one thing: Eugene Levy is no leading man. In fact, the reason that he’s praised for the oddball characters that he portrays is because he’s a character actor, and it’s extremely rare to come across a character actor that can successful carry an entire movie; though Kevin Spacey did a pretty good job in the 90’s.
Okay, so Eugene Levy was pretty funny in “American Pie” and the Christopher Guest films, but was it really necessary to give him a starring role of this caliber? He just appeared opposite Mary-Kate and Ashley last year in “New York Minute,” so one would think he’d have a ways to go before securing a gig alongside Sam Jackson. Then again, maybe not. If you’re looking for a few cheap laughs before the Oscar race begins, stay far, far away from “The Man.”
We wouldn't expect anything more than a couple deleted scenes and a gag reel on this single-disc release, and it's a good thing, too, since that's all you're going to get.