The Sweetest Thing Review
San Francisco resident Christina Walters (Cameron Diaz) doesn’t spend her evenings searching for Mr Right. Instead she concentrates on Mr Right Now. Tonight’s Right Now is Peter (Thomas Jane)…and Christina is so smitten with him that when he leaves town she and best friend Courtney (Christina Applegate) follow him. Much hilarity ensues, or maybe not.
The Sweetest Thing wants to think it’s “a romantic comedy without the sugar”. What that means in practice is that Nancy M. Pimental’s script is filled with sub- and sub-sub-Farrelly Brothers gross-out jokes with an emphasis on bodily functions, odours and fluids. Not to mention a glory-hole gag, and several references to blow jobs. This might have worked if they were actually funny, but time and again director Roger Kumble (who previously made Cruel Intentions, which was much better than this) displays the grace and comic timing of an incontinent elephant. He throws everything he can into the mix – several of Christina’s exes talking to camera at the beginning, a song-and-dance number in a Chinese restaurant with lyrics I couldn’t possibly repeat on a family website such as this – in the hope that some of it will stick. To be fair, some of it does (I laughed a few times) but more often it falls very far wide of the mark. I suspect the plot was the last thing on the makers’ minds, but it relies on a twist that stretches credibility past breaking point. The romantic and sexual exploits of Jane (Selma Blair), Christina and Courtney’s friend, are used as a subplot, but only serve to kill the film’s pace. Take the scene where Jane takes her dress (complete with very noticeable semen stain) to the cleaners, and family members and the vicar drop by. If this were to work, the laughs would build and build…but they don’t and the scene just fades away until it stops. On the plus side, Parker Posey does make something out of a brief role.
I’m not sure who the intended audience is for this film. The fashion for gross-out jokes has probably peaked along with the Farrelly Brothers’ career. (There’s Something About Mary, an overrated film to begin with, is looking more and more like a flash in the pan.) If the makers are trying to show that the girls can be just as filthy as the boys, that doesn’t need proving. And if we’re supposed to find the lead characters’ behaviour anything other than charmless because they’re as good looking as Diaz, Applegate and Blair, well it doesn’t work.