Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Man

2005, US, directed by Les Mayfield

I have lots of time for Samuel L. Jackson, but you have to wonder about the state of his finances when he pops up in movies like this, which re-cycles old ideas for the hundredth time. Then again, the plot is entirely subsidiary to the chemistry between out-of-town dental technology salesman Andy Fiddler (Eugene Levy) and street-smart Detroit ATF agent Derrick Vann (Jackson), whose paths cross in unlikely fashion when Levy is mistaken for a gun buyer during the course of a sting. Vann more or less abducts Fiddler as he attempts to sort out the mess, which is further complicated by Fiddler's tendency to never keep his mouth shut for more than a second or two. We're seen it all before: it's both the blessing and the curse of Hollywood that even fare such as this passes the time (at least while trapped on a plane) quite capably, while actors of the caliber of Jackson and Levy can't fail to raise occasional laughs, even with weak material. Neither is acting outside his comfort zone, but they do this kind of shtick so well that the often incoherent plot doesn't really matter.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States