The Man

There is very little about The Man that merits a trip to the theater. Or even the video store. Or even a glance when it eventually appears on television. The Man is the type of movie that, when watching the preview, one automatically knows that it will be horrible. And it all begins with an inane script that makes the movie feel like it goes on forever. It's a real shame, because its stars Samuel L. Jackson (Revenge of the Sith, xXx: State of the Union) and Eugene Levy (New York Minute, American Wedding) are talented actors who are enjoyable to watch.

But director Les Mayfield (American Outlaws, Blue Streak) and screenwriters Jim Piddick (A Different Loyalty, One Good Turn), Margaret Oberman, and Steve Carpenter (Soul Survivors, Blue Streak) take what makes Jackson and Levy popular, then try to construct an entire movie around a lame concept and basic caricatures. Jackson is Derrick Vann, an angry DEA agent. Levy is Andy Fiddler, a nerdy uptight dental salesman. Sure, they're good in these roles, but that's only because they can act when given a script. There is no tension for Jackson, and no comedy for Levy here. So when they go all out in their performances, it comes off as very bad. Fiddler is in Detroit for a sales convention, when he stumbles upon Van's operation. Van is trying to track down the source of some dangerous arms. He set up a meet in a diner. Instead of Derrick, the guy sees Fiddler, who looks and acts nothing like a cop.

Vann is angry, but then realizes he can use Fiddler to his advantage. Fiddler is not in any national database, and the crooks trust him. Vann strongly encourages Fiddler to cooperate, and Fiddler responds in kind by complaining for most of the movie. In fact, much of the movie is Jackson yelling and Levy whining. Even with all this din, it is very easy to fall asleep. Fiddler protests at every opportunity, but Vann keeps forcing him to help, because Fiddler is Vann's only "in." Fiddler keeps digging himself deeper when he botches every attempt to further the case.

The Man is just stupid. The jokes are stupid, the story is stupid (and basically non-existent), and Jackson and Levy's characters are too dull to want to pay attention to. A truly bad omen is that there is a running fart joke. There is nothing about the story that is original, compelling, or even interesting. Animosity between the two gives way to tolerance, and eventually a reluctant friendship. Both have something to teach the other, and none of it is worth watching at all.

Haro Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 24 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language, rude dialogue, and some violence.

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