If “funny gets you laid,” as John Stamos’ lothario character advises in My Man is a Loser, then this raunchy sex farce is only getting to second base. A debut feature by comedian Mike Young, the film earns a few laughs thanks to the energetic efforts of its hardworking cast, but they’re decidedly of the hit-or-miss variety. The comedy, which is getting a limited theatrical release, may attract some attention on VOD from women thanks to its pandering title.
Michael Rapaport and Bryan Callen play the hapless Marty and Paul, friends and business partners whose respective marriages are both floundering due to their wives’ disenchantment. So they naturally turn to unrepentant womanizer Mike (Stamos), Paul’s brother-in-law, for romantic advice.
Aided by his beautiful employee Clarissa (Tika Sumpter), Mike proceeds to deliver a series of lessons on how to treat women, complete with field trips to strip and comedy clubs (the latter providing an opportunity for the writer/director to make a stand-up cameo appearance).
Needless to say, for most of the film’s running time the advice, which also includes a cuddling lesson and movie watching recommendations — Beaches and Steel Magnolias yes, Rocky no — has a tendency to backfire, with frustrated wives Lianne (Kathy Searle) and Liz (Heidi Armbruster) responding to their men’s oafish overtures with disdain.
An insignificant running subplot concerns the men’s efforts to sell their company for big bucks to a group of Australians, who, in stereotypical fashion, gleefully participate in a violent bar fight.
There are amusing celebrity cameos from Suze Orman, who gives the beleaguered Paul financial advice regarding his free-spending wife, and Maria Bartiromo, dispensing on-air commentary about the pair’s business and romantic travails. Sean Young also shows up briefly as a none-too-effective marriage counselor.
The film is utterly formulaic in its gags and plot developments: Wanna bet whether the caddish Mike will learn the error of his ways and realize that he really loves Clarissa by the conclusion? And writer/director Young strains too hard for outrageous laughs at times, with one gag involving an elderly man whose genitals are blatantly exposed seeming to come from another movie entirely.
But it’s rescued by the sharp comedic performances. Rapaport and Callen display a sweetness that alleviates their characters’ comic dimness; the terrific Searle and Armbruster make the wives’ dissatisfaction both sympathetic and amusing; and Stamos, in a role that he could play in his sleep, fully delivers his patented charm.
With its copious doses of female nudity and its frequent male bashing, My Man is a Loser seems carefully — if cynically — designed to appeal to both sexes. But as the film itself suggests, couples might be better off renting a copy of Beaches to watch together instead.
Production: Step One of Many Entertainment, Imprint Entertainment
Cast: John Stamos, Michael Rapaport, Bryan Callen, Tika Sumpter, Kathy Searle, Heidi Armbruster
Director/screenwriter: Mike Young
Producers: Eric Bamberger, David Goldin, Vince P. Maggio
Executive producers: Mike Young, Will margiloff, Michael Becker, Antoine Douaihy
Director of photography: Harlan Bosmajian
Editor: Phyllis K. Housen
Production designer: Judy Rhee
Costume designer: Michael Bevins
Composer: Brian H. Kim
Rated R, 95 minutes