Mismatching the two principal characters in a movie has become a comedy staple in Hollywood, and the tradition continues in director Les Mayfield's, THE MAN. Andy Fidler (Eugene Levy) has a cheery outlook on life. Even a less than exciting job selling dental products can't wipe the smile from his face. But when he winds up in Detroit for a dental convention and is wrongly identified as an arms dealer, his smile is in danger of disappearing for good. Tough-as-nails cop Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson) has set up an operation to catch the gang whom run with the villain Fidler the villain, Fidler has been mistaken for. Eager to find him after the group of gun runners put a permanent end to his partner's career, Vann concocts a screwball scheme in which Fidler will impersonate the crook he resembles, while also trying to shake the Internal Affairs agents who are closely trailing him. Sam Jackson steals THE MAN from under Levy's nose, with some impressive, snappy dialogue reminiscent of his role as Jules Winnfield in PULP FICTION. Driven to the brink of insanity by the inane banter spewing from Levy's mouth, and a flatulence problem at the other end, Jackson fits into the role like a true pro. The film benefits from an elementary plot that simply allows the laughs to come thick and fast, and evolves only to allow Jackson to display further exasperation at his oblivious partner's behaviour. A cut above the gross-out comedies it will undoubtedly be compared to, THE MAN is a deliciously silly film that benefits from some strong performances.
Samuel L. Jackson