Ladies Man is one of those films that you know will be bad before you even watch it. The premise is no good and it’s something you would expect from a Harem anime, not a mainstream comedy. It’s also a very exaggerated one where the jokes last a lifetime and most of the floor is covered with dead jokes by the end. I know some stale memes which would give you more entertainment value than this film and that’s pretty impressive for what boils down to a single picture. The film’s take on this genre isn’t even done particularly well and it should have looked to Nisekoi on how to properly handle this plot, should it be necessary to actually go through with it.
So the movie starts with our protagonist Herbert getting friend zoned as his girlfriend gets together with someone else behind his back. This traumatizes him to severely that he can’t even be in the same room as a girl. Naturally he is hired at an all girl’s hotel in his new job and while he is reluctant at first, our hero decides to give it a shot. How hard could it be right? Little does he know that he won’t leave this film with his dignity in tact. As if that was ever an option anyway though right?
Let’s break down why this film was a mess. We will also ignore the genre from this point forth since I’ve already gone through that. Let’s assume that someone put a stick of butter to your head and threatened you with gaining 29 pounds before the big Christmas gathering with your family if you didn’t make this movie. Then you have to try and find out why this genre could be successful in the first place. One way they could have handled this film would have been for the main character to stop looking at them all as girls and instead he would have grown to think of them as acquaintances or even friends. This would help him get over his trauma and we don’t have to jump right into romance land. It’s at least a reasonable way of getting over himself and becoming just one of the gang would have been good character development for him.
Instead, not only does he not really show much change until the end of the film, but he is also played up as rather brainless and a jerk to boot. He yells at several of the characters for mispronouncing his name and the odd part is that this is early on in the film where he is supposed to be afraid of girls. So much for that plot point eh? I guess we have to assume that the name thing overrides even his fear of ghosts but I’m not sure I buy that. Seeing him be mean to everyone the whole time also ensures that you will never root for the guy. There is just nothing redeemable about that guy and you will be hoping for him to get fired already. Honestly he should have been fired right away. The scenes of him crying and embarrassing himself are also so extreme that it hurts. I haven’t seen a character this exaggerated in a very long time. The film also goes all out on this angle as his parents are pretty suspect too and his whole family may just not be ready for the outside world. Although they still seem more capable than him.
The only scenes with some imagination were the ones with the Dog/Lion and the Trippy room Herbert walked into where the reality warper messed with his mind. The film could have made that whole scene cooler but considering what flick I was watching, it was still higher than my expectations. At least it lived up to the subplot where everyone kept telling him to avoid that room instead of nothing happening and the hype being for nothing. As for the Dog, I was glad that someone was trying to bark some sense into the lead character. The twist about his true design was fun and I also appreciated the Lion at the end. Those were fairly good gags that were only weakened by the main character.
One of the worst scenes in the film is when the maid has to feed Herbert. It’s pretty gross and also stretches on for an eternity. In general this is a problem that the whole film has as each scene simply goes on for too long. You understand what the gag is in any given scene within seconds so that’s roughly how long the scene should last. Stretching it across while minutes is just bad design and certainly this is the case when the original joke wasn’t even good to begin with. I could point to many more moments but the main thing to draw from this paragraph is that the film is never all that funny. That’s terrible for a comedy film and really dooms it in the long run.
Here’s one more example of a gag that’s too long. Unlike the other one it actually starts off pretty decent as the concept is at least pretty good. A really tough, burly fellow shows up and lays down the ground rules for the main character. He bullies our “poor” lead for a while and forces him to keep bowing to this new authority. However, the gag keeps going as eventually the main character unintentionally turns the tables on this guy and completely breaks his suit and ruins the character’s reputation for good. It’s supposed to be funny but it’s just cringe worthy and this style of humor either didn’t age well or this film’s execution of it was that bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a mix of the two to be honest but most of it likely lies with the film. This film just didn’t understand humor at all and as a result the whole movie suffers.
The mean spirited nature of the movie also doesn’t help. When the head of the school is finally about to achieve her dream of being on TV, Herbert naturally goes out of his way to mess the whole thing up. It all feels very intentional since there’s no way he didn’t know what he was doing. He was actively running away from security as well so he clearly wanted to sabotage the experience so he would be fired even if that didn’t pan out. If we were meant to root for this guy then I definitely can’t say that the film succeeded. If it went self aware at this point…then it still didn’t do a good job so it’s a lose-lose situation that the movie put itself into.
Overall, Ladies Man is a really bad film that only gets worse and worse as you think about it. It hasn’t aged well at all and won’t keep your attention for more than a few minutes. The forced humor rears its head early on and never goes away. I would advise you to stay far away from this one. I can’t say that I would recommend the harem genre at all since the very premise is basically asking for trouble. Stick to solid action thrillers and then you will really be set. Those films will probably give you more laughs than this one.