1997, R, 84 min. Directed by Michael Goldberg. Starring Craig Shoemaker, George Wendt, Harley Jane Kozak, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Farrah Fawcett.
REVIEWED By Alison Macor, Fri., Nov. 8, 1996
When stand-up comedian Craig Shoemaker's therapist (Wendt) remarks, “Frankly, the LoveMaster frightens me,” I wholeheartedly agree. Not only does this particular part of Shoemaker's act frighten me, but the entire movie leaves me cold. Shoemaker plays himself, a comedian whose entire life has been spent perfecting impressions in order to gain acceptance and attention. Parlaying this talent into a somewhat successful stand-up career, Shoemaker finds himself unable to separate from the LoveMaster, a particularly hideous creation whose voice sounds very much like the real love master, Barry White. The LoveMaster wins women (such as date Farrah Fawcett) based on the nastiness of his come-ons, which all relate to the length and prowess of his penis. Here's a sample: “C'mon baby. Tell Pinocchio a lie.” Get it? Well, when a newly-divorced Shoemaker begins to date again, he realizes that women don't want the kind, sensitive man he really is; they want the nasty LoveMaster. Yeah, right. Nasty content aside, The LoveMaster lacks any kind of cohesive narrative structure. The film mainly consists of Shoemaker performing his stand-up routine at the Improv in Phoenix, intercut with scenes in which he's counseled by his therapist or remembering crucial developmental moments from his adolescence. By juxtaposing these familial memories with his current dating dilemmas, The LoveMaster makes some vague attempts to hold responsible his pot-smoking grandmother and belly-dancing mother for the zany way Shoemaker has turned out. There are very few comedians who can turn their stand-up routines into an engrossing feature-length film, and Shoemaker is certainly not one of them. The LoveMaster has nothing going for it, and in my opinion Shoemaker's shtick has even less to recommend it.