SWEETEST THING, THE
Christina Walters (Cameron Diaz) is a carefree single whose golden rule is avoiding commitment and seeking only the right man for the moment. After a chance encounter with Peter Donahue (Thomas Jane), Christina decides to break her rule and pursue him. With best friend Courtney Rockliffe (Christina Applegate), Christina heads to the small California town of Somerset in search of her potential Mr Right.
Review by Richard Kuipers:
Dear Cameron Diaz,
Comediennes as talented as you are rare. Your ability to play ditzy and smart at the same time puts you in the company of greats like Goldie Hawn, Carole Lombard and Marilyn Monroe. You're such a good sport - remember the 'hair gel' in There's Something About Mary and how dowdy you looked in Being John Malkovich?. Even in this sorry misfire you can make us laugh when the script has failed. So please, Cameron, don't be such a good sport in the future and say no to films that waste your wonderful gifts.
The Sweetest Thing hits the wrong note in the opening scene and stays there for the following 89 minutes. Cameron Diaz is 'vogueing' along the streets of San Francisco to prove how supremely groovy her character is. At least I think that's the intention and I think we're supposed to laugh but it's hard to tell. An attempt to duplicate the gross-out humour of films like There's Something About Mary, this one packs in every body function gag not covered by the Farrelly Brothers, but these filmmakers don't understand that intelligence and a deft hand are required to make this kind of humour work. Most of the set-ups are all wrong and director Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions) is clumsy executing the pay-offs. An oral sex emergency scene could have been hilarious but the reason for the panic is totally unbelievable. Likewise a scene in a women's toilet in which we're expected to believe a girl as smart as Christina would want to press her face up close to a glory hole. Even in the realms of gross out we have to believe in the possibility of situations and that's what's missing most of the time. Fortunately this has the divine Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair throwing themselves in so enthusiastically that it avoids total disaster, but only just. At the public preview I attended the audience laughed a lot for the first forty-five minutes and not much afterwards. It's okay for a giggle or two but Diaz and we deserve better.
Review by David Edwards:
Crassness in comedy isn’t confined to men. In The Sweetest Thing, Cameron Diaz and company prove that sisters can do it too. Quite apart from Ms Diaz, the film shares much in common with There’s Something About Mary. Bodily fluid and bodily function jokes abound in this light-hearted romp. The film alludes to a girl power sensibility but never really takes it anywhere, which is a pity. The script by Nancy Pimental won’t tax the brain to any extent, and there’s never really any doubt about how the story will end, but it has enough comic detours on the rocky road to romance to hold your attention. Director Roger Kumble doesn’t come close to his achievements in Cruel Intentions, but it’s certainly a step up from his intervening effort, the awful Cruel Intentions 2. He keeps things barrelling along, even allowing for digressions like the “movie montage” he throws in. Despite its often-astonishing bad taste, The Sweetest Thing rises above fare like Tomcats because of the sheer enthusiasm of the mostly-female cast. Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate look like they’re having a blast as the two friends out to rip true love from the jaws of jaded cynicism. Both have a great comic touch, and while they’re no Thelma and Louise, make a pretty good pairing on-screen. Selma Blair gets the rough end of the script’s often-prickly pineapple, but makes the most of what she’s given, and Parker Posey has a sparkling cameo. The men however don’t fare so well, with Thomas Jane a bland love interest (I’m still trying to work out what Christina sees in his character). John Bennett Perry though has a hilarious turn as a very peeved father-of-the-bride. The Sweetest Thing is a feather-light but tasteless look at love in the age of distrust. It’s clearly not meant to be taken seriously; so while it’d be easy to be critical, the best advice is to simply go with the flow on this one, and you just might enjoy it.
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SWEETEST THING, THE (MA)
CAST: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane.
PRODUCER: Cathy Konrad
DIRECTOR: Roger Kumble
SCRIPT: Nancy Pimental
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony B. Richmond
EDITOR: Wendy Greene Bricmont, David Rennie
MUSIC: Ed Shearmur
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Gary Steele
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 25, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: January 2, 2003
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.