The Sweetest Thing
Directed by Roger Kumble
A lot of movies flaunt their best scenes in their commercials and trailers. The Sweetest Thing is a movie so devoid of worthwhile content, however, that its advertising resorts to outtakes featured during the end credits.
The Sweetest Thing is a movie desperately trying to market itself as being in the same class as There's Something About Mary and My Best Friend's Wedding, which is an odd combination. Aside from the obvious connection (both films star Cameron Diaz), The Sweetest Thing's only other kinship is that its director, Roger Kumble, was thanked in Mary's end credits. (Kumble's also responsible for turning Les Liaisons Dangereuses into a sophomoric sexcapade for the high school set in Cruel Intentions.)
That raises the question: Why was he thanked? After seeing The Sweetest Thing, that "thank you" surely must've been with all the sincerity of a Bronx cheer.
Christina and Courtney's Not-So-Excellent Adventure
The movie starts off with promise. Christina Walters (Diaz), Courtney Rockliffe (Christina Applegate, Just Visiting), and Jane Burns (Selma Blair, Legally Blonde) are power players, strolling the streets of San Francisco with their hands-free cell phone headsets and bringing sunshine with them wherever they go.
Briefly, the ladies come across as smart go-getters who like to par-tay. Unfortunately, that compelling portrait slips away faster than their slips on a hot date, and they are exposed as excruciatingly shallow, self-centered, and stupid little girls. If only they were funny at it.
The Sweetest Thing is not a romance and it's not really a comedy (that would require regular bouts of laughter). It's a happy-go-lucky, self-absorbed-girls-on-the-go flick that finds scads of humor in maggot – and male organ – juice.
The film centers on Christina as she tracks down a boy she met at a nightclub.
That boy, Peter (Thomas Jane, Magnolia), is a decent guy who shuns Christina's attempts to force her friend Jane on him following Jane's recent unceremonious dumping. Christina and Peter don't hit it off, so naturally they're made for each other.
But after leaving Peter in the dust, Christina wakes up to regret it. With her best friend Courtney in tow, she makes a road trip up the highway and drops in on Peter's brother's wedding in order to make amends. Yeah. That's the story.
It's Not Roses
As the commercials show, there is a scene wherein the gals, while en route to the wedding, uncover something rotten in their car. Throwing the package of maggot-ridden meat wrapped in tinfoil out the window might have removed some of the stink, ladies, but there's still a stench in the car. It's the permeating, ubiquitous stench of a half-baked screenplay by Nancy Pimental, one of the writers of South Park. It's akin to cigarette smoke. No matter how many of those cheesy deodorizers you dangle from your rear view mirror, there's still gonna be some ingrained foulness that can't be masked.
The Sweetest Thing tries to capture the same shock comedy that won audiences over in There's Something About Mary, but it just doesn't work. It's tired, forced, foul, heartless, and lame.
This film's "centerpiece" shocker involves Jane and her latest romantic interest in a particularly compromising position that has attracted the entire neighborhood up the stairwell leading to Jane's boudoir. It's a scene that somehow winds up being oddly reminiscent of the madcap Airplane! movies, wherein all makes and models of people come out of the woodwork, join in the chaos, and break into song. Here, though, it's not nearly as amusing.
That's not to say The Sweetest Thing is without a laugh or two. If you find watching a woman trying to use a urinal in a grimy, grungy men's restroom (and lots of boob talk) to be highly entertaining, then this opus is for you.
All others, please, please stand back – and upwind.
Wait... It Gets Worse
Offering an anorexic 80 minutes of "entertainment," the film extends its run time by showing bloopers and outtakes during the end credits. (One of those scenes is actually used in the film's commercials!) Those outtakes show the cast and crew having a good ol' time making the movie. That's nice for them, but watching The Sweetest Thing is work for the audience.
There were several scenes in the outtakes that make one wonder where they would have fit into the actual film. Perhaps the final cut was only half of the material filmed. Perhaps we should be thankful for small favors.
The Sweetest Thing was written by a woman and offered hope for being different, but it wound up being more a copycat than an original. All it proves is that women are just as capable of gross-out humor as men.
Diaz, Applegate, and Blair are all cutie-patooties. It would take an extraordinarily bad movie to make them virtually unwatchable. Congratulations, Kumble, you succeeded. The Sweetest Thing is extraordinarily bad.
Thanks. Thanks a lot.
• Originally published at MovieHabit.com.