TMN Movie Review: "My Man Is a Loser"

Photo Credit: Lionsgate

Rating: R
Length: 95 minutes
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Directed by: Mike Young
Genre: Comedy

A comedic focus on the two sexes trying to understand each other is common fodder for filmmakers, particularly after the abundance of romantic self-help books hitting shelves in recent decades. These films play on common stereotypes, major differences and colliding forces of gender to create some major laughs, but not all of these comedies hit the mark. Whether or not "My Man Is a Loser" hits that mark is a tough call, but one cannot deny the great acting that this rom-com brings to the screen. It may be formulaic, but "My Man Is a Loser" is charming and surprisingly appealing to both sexes.

The beginning of the film introduces Mike (John Stamos), a charismatic, single bar owner in Manhattan who has no trouble winning the hearts of women. Audiences then meet Marty (Michael Rapaport) and Paul (Bryan Callen), friends and business partners who are clueless about most areas related to their shrewd wives. Liz (Heidi Armbruster) feels that her husband Paul is just not there emotionally, and Lianne (Kathy Searle) is getting increasingly fed up with Marty's boorish ways.

To make matters worse, the two buddies spend a night drinking and wind up at a strip club, and when photos of their ill-advised night end up on Facebook, Liz and Lianne's anger boils over. Knowing that they have to do something if they want to save their marriages, the bumbling pair of husbands seeks help from Mike, Paul's brother-in-law. The handsome bachelor agrees to teach them his ways, and he is assisted by his kind, generous employee Clarissa (Tika Sumpter). Thus, Mike's relationship boot camp begins.

To hilarious effect, Mike teaches the men how to cuddle, which movies to choose for a romantic night, how to get in shape to keep their wives' attraction and how to listen. At the same time, Paul and Marty are trying to sell their company to a group of Australians, but things backfire fast. Although most of Mike's teachings tend to backfire, the two friends soon find their way back into their wives' hearts. Mike, meanwhile, is left alone again, but after becoming so close with Clarissa, he wonders if the life of a bachelor is really what he wants for himself.

"My Man Is a Loser" is clearly not shooting for complex characters and a unique plot, as nearly every twist and turn is predictable. However, this is true of most films in the rom-com genre. Mike Young's directorial debut does strike an emotional chord with audiences, playing on the friction between the sexes to create some genuine comedic moments. Not every joke hits the mark, with many feeling as if the filmmakers are trying too hard. For instance, gross-out scenes like the one showing an elderly man's exposed prosthetic penis do nothing to appease audiences' appetite for humor. Little visual interest is generated, and the narrative tends to dart around at times. However, the film does produce some genuinely funny moments in its short run time.

It seems obvious from the title that the movie caters to women, but it is interesting that the film virtually never shows the story from their point of view. Instead, it acts as a sort of parody of men's cluelessness. The movie's central focus is men, yet it seems to take the side of women. However, both sexes are fair game for boisterous humor. Though this technique works well to attract audiences of both genders, it makes the film a less than ideal choice for a couple's romantic night out.

The story and comedic elements of this film may be typical romantic comedy fare, but it is clear that the cast is completely dedicated in their performances. Stamos is perfectly typecast in his role as the eternal bachelor, creating a character with whom viewers can sympathize. Rapaport and Callen play the role of hilarious, boorish husbands with ease, delivering some great lines with full enthusiasm. Armbruster and Searle as the fed-up wives may not have as much character diversity and development as their male co-stars, but they generate plenty of empathy in their emotional roles. Sumpter is the icing on the casting cake with her infectious charisma and fun-loving attitude.

"My Man Is a Loser" may not be winning any awards for its concepts or screenplay, but it still has enough genuine humor and great acting to make it a worthwhile watch for the casual viewer who is just out for a few laughs. More critical audiences may want to skip this one in theaters, however.