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The Man

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for language, rude dialogue and some violence.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Moral Rating: Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults Teens
Genre: Crime Action Comedy
Length: 2 hr. 0 min.
Year of Release: 2005
USA Release: September 9, 2005 (wide)
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Goss, Eugene Levy, Miguel Ferrer
Director Les Mayfield
Producer Rob Fried, Mathew Hart, Bill Straus
Distributor: New Line Cinema. Trademark logo.
New Line Cinema
, division of Warner Bros. Pictures

One guy walks the walk. The other talks and talks.

Mismatched-buddy films have been always been a constant for the film industry. You don’t necessarily have to have a great script. Just put two likeable actors together and see what happens. It is usually a pretty low risk investment. I know that I’ve seen my share of interesting match ups. This one isn’t the worst, but it certainly isn’t the best. If you have seen the trailer… you have already seen the best parts of this flic.

Eugene Levy plays the hapless schnook who gets into another crises way over his head. He fits well into the character of Wisconsin dental-supply salesman Andy Fiddler. There are many that like the comedic resume’ of this actor. He is best known for playing the well meaning but wildly out-of-the-loop father in the “American Pie” movies. Other films include “Bringing Down the House,” “A Mighty Wind” and “Best in Show”. This time our poor “why me?” is mistaken for an international arms dealer. He reluctantly finds himself in the middle of a federal sting operation.

The problem is “The Man” is never as funny as it could be. Most of the laugh gimmicks involve flatulence in an elevator with four nuns. Our writers are desperate for laughs and put this gag in again. Our man is teamed up with Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson (who could use some more of the “force”) is Derrick Vann, a federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who is trying to overcome a cloud of suspicion. His partner has been slain, and he discovers that he was on the take with a gang of international arms dealers. His boss (Miguel Ferrer) believes he is also connected and gives him 48 hours to clear his name. After all, you can’t have a good suspenseful crime drama without an impending deadline.

Enter Andy Fiddler, innocently having breakfast in a coffee shop, who is mistaken for an arms buyer by one of the dealers. Soon Andy finds himself holding a paper bag containing a large revolver and a cell phone, the latter so the arms merchant can keep in close contact. Andy also finds himself saddled with Derrick, who takes him under his wing and turns him into a reluctant partner.

It’s the old mismatched-buddy, fish-out-of-water plot that still shows some promise, though it is largely unfulfilled here. Levy’s quizzical, surprised looks can only go so far in a script that includes a subplot about Derrick’s unhappy little daughter and her desire to have her workaholic divorced daddy see her dance recital. Of course, we will later visit the school auditorium to see it.

Director Les Mayfield, a master of such formula films as “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Flubber” and “Blue Streak,” doesn’t gain much inspiration from this formulaic, by-the-numbers script. His big car chase scene suffers from the same problem that has plagued such recent films as “Transporter 2” and “The Island”: too many fast-edited close-ups of actors and car exteriors don’t translate into rampaging action that allows the audience to get a focus on the overall scene.

“The Man” is filled with lots of oddball lines that never really fit. Parents should know there is plenty of profanity in this film. That it includes at least one use of the f-word, an abundance of obscenities and an offensive sound track running in the background.

I really cannot recommend this movie as a good comedy or a decent escape for discerning adults. Don’t take my word for it… it ONLY accomplished a 16% National Film Critic Approval Rating, it opened in 6th place in the top ten, and it only earned a measly 4.1 mil. Yes, this one will soon be on the DVD shelves and no doubt hyped with extra features. It is easy to see from the sloppy editing that the director really did not intend this studio standard to be PG-13. I’m sure that they will bank on an unedited version to lure the Levy and Jackson fans.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—The film was offensive on the grounds of vulgarity. Everything else was fine: no sex or blue humor. I didn’t like this movie not only because it was profane, but it was stupid. No wonder gave it an extremely rotten rating. Even “Taxi” (with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah) was funnier than this.

The premise of “The Man” is very formulaic; there are several buddy movies out there with the same plot (two total opposites meet up to fight crime). The only good thing it did was bring together the talents of clean humor funnyman Eugene Levy (great actor, by the way) and semi-action movie star Samuel L. Jackson, “Pulp Fiction” “alumni.
My Ratings: Very Offensive/1½
Shannon H., age 24
Neutral—This movie was entertaining. It is not an Academy Award winner, but it is funny. The only thing I found offense is the amount of curse words. There was a significant amount of them. They even said the “F” word, which surprised me since it is a PG-13 movie. If there had not been so much cursing, then I would definitely recommend it, but as it is, I am not sure. Like I said, there were times we laughed, it is a cute story, it’s just all that language. The two main characters played their role excellently. They were believable characters.
My Ratings: Average/3
Vicki Masters, age 51
Positive—This movie had my husband, mother and I laughing all night. I agree about the language, there is a lot of swearing, but I went into it expecting it. **SLIGHT SPOILER** I really like how Andy gets Dectective Vann to connect with his daughter, even though it’s only a small part of the movie I appreciated it. **END OF SPOILER**

All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t mind the swearing, and so I have to say it’s one of the funnier movies I’ve seen in a while.
My Ratings: Average / 4
April Hardwick, age 27
Comments from young people
Positive—I went into this movie not really expecting a whole lot. I was wrong. This movie had me laughing harder than I had ever laughed at the theater in my entire life. The acting was what made it so wonderful. The jokes were hilarious and the difference between the two main characters was great. The only objectional thing that I did not enjoy was the language. With many uses of the S, D, S o B, and a-words. Only a couple uses of the f-word however. But besides the language, this was my favorite comedy I have seen in a long time.
My Ratings: Average/5
Josh, age 14
Positive—I saw this movie last night with my family. It was funny and had some action, and we all liked it. The only down-side was that there was a lot of cussing, but that didn’t really bug me, seeing as there was no sex in it. I would recommend this movie for teens or mature kids.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Jamey Shelley, age 15
Movie Critics
…Crude and obscene words number in the eighties…
Preview Family Movie and TV Review, Brian Hughes
…ranks way down on the list of screen mirth-makers to feature Samuel L. Jackson
USA Today, Mike Clark
…Who knew Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy would make such a dynamic comic duo?…
The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt
…Even Pepe Le Pew would turn up his nose at this stinker…
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Townsend
…Did Samuel L. Jackson have to reroof his house or something? Why else would he breeze through this piece of junk?…
E! Online