The Man could be the funniest film
of the year. But, it's hard for the Masked Reviewer to say
definitively, since he didn't see it.
Wha? Huh? How can a reviewer review a film that he didn't
Haven't you ever heard of inductive reasoning? There's plenty
of evidence to suggest that the film will be horrible. That's not
to say that it's a given, but let's look at the facts.
First, have you seen the preview? The Masked Reviewer did, and
it left him cold. Now, keep in mind that the Masked Reviewer loves
Samuel L. Jackson -- who doesn't? He's the man...but in a good
way. The Masked Reviewer also is a big fan of Eugene Levy...but
only in Christopher Guest's mockumentary movies, such as Best in Show
or A Mighty Wind. Eugene Levy was especially brilliant
in the latter.
But consider for a moment some of Eugene Levy's other works:
Club Paradise - he played a goofy, wide-eyed, stumbling,
uptight white guy.
Armed and Dangerous - he played a goofy, wide-eyed, stumbling,
uptight white guy opposite John Candy working as a security guard.
Stay Tuned - he played a goofy, wide-eyed, stumbling, uptight
white guy opposite John Ritter and Pam Dawber.
I Love Trouble - he played a Justice of the Peace who was a
goofy, wide-eyed, stumbling, uptight white guy.
Multiplicity - he played Vic, a character who was goofy,
wide-eyed, and uptight, who was also white, and stumbled a bit.
The Ladies Man - he played Bucky Kent in Tim Meadow's first
(and hopefully last) lead role. By the way, he was a goofy,
wide-eyed, stumbling, uptight white guy (Eugene Levy, not Tim Meadows).
Bringing Down the House - he played a goofy, wide-eyed,
stumbling, uptight white guy opposite Queen Latifah and Steve Martin.
New York Minute - he played...well, it doesn't really matter
as this was a Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen twins movie. But, you can
bet he was uptight, stumbling, and wide-eyed, at least.
Like Mike - he played a tall black man. Just kidding: he
was goofy, wide-eyed, stumbling, and uptight.
Repli-Kate - has anyone even ever heard of this?
American Pie 1-3 - he played the father of Jason Biggs.
For some reason, this is the role that Eugene Levy is "known for."
Perhaps it's because he's been rigidly typecast. Awkward,
uncomfortable, stammering...also known as goofy, wide-eyed, stumbling,
uptight white guy.
Whenever Hollywood wants to use a guy that's a by-the-book
stereotypically conformist white guy, they call Eugene Levy. And,
if you love that sort of shtick, you should run out and see The Man
right now. It'll be filled with the typical, tired, lame "clash of
culture" jokes that have been done to death elsewhere. Eugene
Levy's character will try to be sensitive and "with it" but will bungle
it horribly. He'll be a fish out of water. For 90 minutes.
And when he's supposed to be nervous, he'll open his eyes as wide as
possible, and the audience will erupt with laughter.
It's not easy to be so harsh on Eugene Levy, because he was
absolutely brilliant in A Mighty Wind. Go see that.
As for Samuel L. Jackson...what was he thinking? He wanted to get
into comedy? As a straight man? Surely he's got enough money
from Pulp Fiction or the latest Star Wars movie so that he
wouldn't have to do this, right? How could he not know what he was
getting into? This is one of those movies where any average person
off the street could almost certainly guess all the big jokes. And
they won't be that big.
If you want further evidence that this movie won't be good without
having to endure sitting through it, consider the following: it was
released on one of the worst weekends in the year. The studios
don't put their funniest comedies in early September, because no one
goes to movies. They're busy enjoying the last days of summer,
going back to school, or watching good movies at home on DVD. Not
only that, the interviews that Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy have
done don't suggest that this is a great film. Samuel L. Jackson
said that he and Eugene Levy "stayed out of each other's way" to let
each do what they're good at. Sounds like he's saying that if it's
not funny, it's not his fault -- don't blame the straight man.
Eugene Levy has said that it's really hard to promote a comedy after the
disaster of hurricane Katrina. Maybe that's why he's distracted
and distant. Or, possibly, he saw the film and thinks that the
people of New Orleans were lucky to have been spared the disaster of
seeing The Man. It's hard to say.
Either way, the purpose of a review is to give potential moviegoers a
fair warning about junky movies, and unfortunately the poor movie
reviewer is often called to go and sit through the worst that Hollywood
has to offer in order to "take one for the team." They made it,
someone has to sit through it. Well, not this time. The
Masked Reviewer let good sense prevail.
In Germany, the film will be called Der Mann.
Expectation from the Title: The true story of Susie the
waitress, who is definitely a dude.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Eugene Levy has very impressive eyebrows.
The Pros: The Masked Reviewer didn't see this film.
The Cons: The Masked Reviewer had to imagine what this film
would be like.