Legal notice server Joe (Matthew Perry) is hired to deliver divorce papers to Sara (Elizabeth Hurley), the wife of philandering Texas millionaire Gordon (Bruce Campbell). Under Texas law Sara will receive a much larger financial settlement if she can avoid receiving the papers and serve her own documents on Gordon first. Joe accepts Sara's offer of a million dollars to withhold the papers and the duo embark on a supposedly simple scheme to turn the tables on Gordon.
Review by Richard Kuipers:
Dead On Arrival is the best way to describe this embarrassing mess that is summed up by an extended scene in which Matthew Perry is forced to examine a bull's prostate. If the television star from Friends is seeking success on the big screen the last place he's going to find it is up an animal's backside in this piece of gross-out gutter trash.
Illness forced Perry off set for a couple of months during production but from his anguished look throughout this monumentally unfunny exercise the real pain was suffered on set. Elizabeth Hurley - an actress of limited ability but blessed with a normally astute business brain - misjudged this one badly and also looks like she'd rather be anywhere else but in the middle of such a farrago. Who could blame her as a witless script gives her nothing funny to say while the camera leers all over her - as if a horny 17 year-old work experience boy has been left in charge of shot selection.
Like too many comedies that fail in the attempt to gross-out in the Farrelly Brothers style, Serving Sara shows no love or sympathy for its central characters and doesn't know what to do with gifted comedians like Bruce Campbell who's wasted as Hurley's louse of a Texan spouse. Offering Perry and Hurley as unappealing lambs to a slaughter of ridicule and embarrassment simply isn't funny because we have nothing to hold on to during moments like Perry's close encounter with the bull. Blame lies squarely with writers Jay Scherick and David Ronn, who somehow passed their cynical and insulting script off as a screwball romantic comedy with a funky modern edge.
Director Reginald Hudlin (House Party....and not much else since) seems to have thrown his hands up in the air and abandoned all hope of breathing life into this corpse. Easily the worst film of the year so far (unless you think ethnic jokes like 'Wop-A-Long Cassidy' are funny) Serving Sara deserves to have a 'cease and desist' notice posted on it. Perry's first words in the film are 'my job sucks'. 90 excruciating minutes later we know he's telling the awful truth.
CAST: Matthew Perry, Elizabeth Hurley, Bruce Campbell, Vincent Pastore
PRODUCER: Dan Halstead
DIRECTOR: Reginald Hudlin
SCRIPT: Jay Scherick, David Ronn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Brinkmann
EDITOR: Jim Miller
MUSIC: Marcus Miller
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rusty Smith
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 27, 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.