Starring Eugene Levy and Samuel L. Jackson, The Man is a fast-paced action comedy set on the tough streets of Detroit. Levy’s character, Andy Fiddler, is a nerdy chatterbox from Wisconsin who sells dental supplies. He is attending a two-day sales convention while his wife and three children stay at home. Meanwhile, an ATF agent turns up dead after a stolen arms deal gone bad. Enter Jackson’s tough guy, federal agent character, Derrick Vann. He’s given an ultimatum by his no-nonsense boss, Lt. Carbone (Susie Essman) to find his partner’s killers and recovering the stolen guns in 24 hours.
While having an innocent breakfast in a downtown Detroit coffee shop, Andy Fiddler gets mixed up in a deal with the gun thieves, who were supposed to be dealing with Vann. This forces Vann to use Fiddler as his “front man” in an undercover sting, unleashing a hilarious sequence of events between these two polar opposite characters. Akin to Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro in Midnight Run (1988), the chemistry between the two men as they cruise the streets in Vann’s Cadillac Coupe de Ville is gut-wrenching and laugh out loud, funny. Fiddler’s mantra is “I never met anyone that didn’t become a friend” compared to Vann’s credo of “I don’t trust nobody” creates some interesting juxtapositions involving bathroom humor via Fiddler’s reaction to eating red meat and his reaction to Vann’s use of the “F word.” They become a team shortly after Fiddler screws up a deal with the head bad guy, Joey, (Luke Goss). Vann then christens Fiddler with his new title, “The Man.” Eventually, we learn that Vann does have a soft spot in his heart for his ballerina daughter (Tomorrow Baldwin Montgomery) and his ex-wife (Rachael Crawford).
Les Mayfield, whose directing credits include Encino Man (1992) and Blue Streak (1999), utilizes his supporting characters in the film for comedic leverage. Booty (Anthony Mackie) is Vann’s snitch and street hustler who is continually abused by Vann throughout the film. Even Vann’s Cadillac gets in on the act via some fancy auto-hydraulics. Agent Peters (Miguel Ferrer) plays an Internal Affairs cop who is determined that Vann is a corrupt cop while Diaz (Horatio Sanz) plays a gullible cop who continually loans Vann “flash money” from the evidence room safe, knowing it will probably get him fired. Jim Piddock, Margaret Oberman and Steve Carpenter cleverly crafted the script for the film. The Man is a New Line Cinema presentation of a Fried Films production, opening nationwide in US theatres on September 9th. If you’re looking for some comic relief, sit back and take a ride with The Man.