April 25, 2002

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

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Upon viewing the preview for The Sweetest Thing, it appears that this movie would be a fun girls-having-fun film, complete with an appropriate dose of romance. The preview was enhanced by its focus on Cameron Diaz, the spunky, fun, beautiful star. Surprisingly, upon viewing the actual film, it became clear that The Sweetest Thing was not only these things, but also a gross-out comedy. As the title implies, pretty sweet.

When boy-magnet, party-girl Christina Walters (Cameron Diaz) suddenly has real feelings for a guy (Thomas Jane), her world is turned upside down. Ironically, she meets him when she tries to “pawn” him off to her roommate Jane, which the guy, Peter, sarcastically calls the “sweetest thing.” In order to track down Peter, she goes on a roadtrip accompanied by her best friend Courtney (Christina Applegate), with the ultimate goal of crashing a wedding in order to find the man of her dreams.

Meanwhile, Jane (Selma Blair, Cruel Intentions), who is supposed to look like a “plain Jane” when juxtaposed with her friends, stays home as she recovers from being dumped by her long-time boyfriend of “almost a year.” During her adventures at home, she is met not only with success, but by some of the funniest scenes.

Sweetest Thing has several note-worthy comedic moments. During one scene in a dressing room, Diaz and Applegate enjoy a movie montage and dress up like characters from several great films, including Dumb and Dumber, Pretty Woman, and Flash Dance. There are also protruding penises from bathroom walls, exploding urinals, and maggot-infested food taking flight and wreaking havoc on the roadtripping heroines.

The comedy is in essence a cut and paste version of an amalgam of slapstick “guy-comedies.” The jokes were all original ones, but for the most part they were only original in the first movie in which they appeared.

Selma Blair was the unhighlighted highlight of this film; her comedic talents were its saving grace. Her spastic delivery and unduplicatable facial expressions are a treat in any movie, and it seems as though Nancy Pimental (South Park) wrote this part specifically for her.

The other great comedic talent in the film was Parker Posey (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show), the nervous bride. Her appearance was brief but long enough to demonstrate her talent.

Unfortunately, the great scenes with all of these actresses were too far apart, with way too much time in between them.

Diaz, the main star, is not at her best in Thing. While her delivery is great in some scenes, and she does have a knack for comedy, the plot of this movie focused so much on how great she is that it creates a persona whose shoes even Cameron Diaz herself could not fill. For example, the movie opens with a series of obsessive guys confessing their heart-wrenching stories of rejection from Christina, the great alpha (fe)male. Diaz is also bombarded with men the second she steps onto the dance floor in the fun, but overly lengthy party scenes.

Similarly, Applegate, who seems to have good chemistry on screen with Diaz, does not perform to what it seems is her potential. As she has already done in the TV show Jesse, Applegate is beginning to show that she has much more to offer than her role of Kelly Bundy on Married… With Children. It seems as though she was present to deliver the lines too gross for Diaz. For example, offensive words for female anatomy and a faked lesbian encounter. She even uses a urinal in a rest room to which Diaz turns up her nose.

As Christina’s love interest, Thomas Jane is handsome and smart-witted, but overall unmemorable. In addition, Jason Bateman (TV’s The Hogan Family) is Peter’s immature brother. While it is fun to see his cameo, his performance is on par with Jane’s. However, this does not detract from the movie, but rather lends to the focus on the girls.

In director Roger Kumble’s (Cruel Intentions, Cruel Intentions 2) third movie, he ventures into a new genre, in which he is met with some extent of success. Unfortunately, big names and some brilliant comedic moments were not able to make up for the film’s faults. However, with two great movies under his belt (and one really awful one), this director certainly shows potential.

While Sweetest Thing displayed some great acting and hard-core, gross-out jokes, this was overshadowed by too many slow moments and failed talents. All in all, for a movie called The Sweetest Thing, this movie left a bad taste in my mouth.

Archived article by Sara Katz