‘Man’ Overbored: Dumb Buddy-Cop Flick a Dreary Rehash


“It’s a tasty burger,” federal agent Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson) tells visiting dental supply salesman Andy Fiddler (Eugene Levy), shortly before driving to a diner and ordering his hesitant friend some ground round, not realizing that red meat gives Andy gas. Loud gas. Why The Man—which has Jackson, coffee shop repartee, and endless passenger-driver banter—would choose a line to further remind viewers of Pulp Fiction is a question for greater intellects than those who will see it. It’s as if one of the Police Academy sequels had alluded to Chinatown. In this dreary rehash of the buddy-cop paradigm, Levy plays a walking punchline, his character having accidentally wandered into an undercover gun-running bust and been mistaken for Vann, who was posing as a buyer. So Vann needs Andy to close the deal. The two drive around Detroit trading barbs, wisdom, and duties as each other’s “bitch.” Notably, Vann shoots Andy in the ass and teaches him to use taco sauce as an antiseptic. In turn, Andy directs Vann to soften his language, instructing him to follow every use of “fuck” with “cryin’ out loud.” (“Pretty soon,” he says, “you’ll be saying, ‘For crying out loud!’ “) Fuu . . . cryin’ out loud, this movie’s dumb.