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One can judge comedies by the quality of their romantic subplots. That is, the more seriously the romance is played, and the prettier the gal is in relation to the comic lead, the worse the movie. For instance, in Beverly Hills Ninja, Chris Farley woos and wins Nicolette Sheridan. Bad film. In contrast, the sterling Dumb and Dumber takes its romance as another joke—Jim Carrey doesn’t get the girl; it was never a possibility. In Strange Brew, the romance lies completely between the McKenzie brothers. (The scene of their first-ever separation is inspired.) In the end, Tim Meadows’ The Ladies Man takes its utterly unconvincing and unlikely romance dead serious. To say that the movie ends with marriage and babies gives away nothing, because everything about this Lorne Michaels contractual obligation is already known from the recurring Saturday Night Live skits starring Meadows, who became a cast member in 1992 and lasted longer than any current Not Ready for Prime Time Player. His tenacity was rewarded with a skit-based feature of his own. Although never a standout performer like John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, or Farley, he was always a dependable, likable presence. And he is dependably likable here, although he gets little support from the sluggish script, which is too concerned with keeping the absurdly forced plot on track and less with allowing the Ladies Man to do his thing in his own crazy world. Lee Evans and Will Ferrell do their best to keep the energy up, and the music is good, but don’t look for The Ladies Man 2. —Dave Nuttycombe