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The Sweetest Thing (R)
Columbia
Official Site
Director: Roger Kumble
Producer: Cathy Konrad
Written by: Nancy M. Pimental
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Thomas Jane, Selma Blair, Parker Posey, Jason Bateman
Rating: out of 5


Super cute, very quirky, and pretty clichéd. That’s The Sweetest Thing in a nutshell. So ignore the hype and ignore the film’s tagline, “a romantic comedy without the sugar.” Let’s be honest—at the core, it’s a formulaic Hollywood romantic comedy, the kind we all know and love.

When it comes to dating, Christina Walters (Diaz) seems to have a problem with commitment, although the film never mentions her past relationships. One night at a club she most briefly meets Peter (Jane), but naturally doesn’t give him her phone number. No, then the movie would be over. Instead, they part ways after exchanging a mere three paragraphs of dialogue. Here’s my issue with this, and most mainstream romantic comedies: Where is the love? You’ve got to build something at the beginning for the audience to believe that these two characters have fallen in love.

So we suspend our disbelief and assume that talking at a dance club equals love at first sight. Peter happened to mention his brother’s (Bateman) wedding the following weekend, so Christina and her wild’n’crazy best friend-since second-grade, Courtney (Applegate) go on a road trip to find him, encountering wild and hee-larious misadventures along the way. Another note, about the writing here. The best friend thing is done a little over the top. I mean, I get it, they’re close. This doesn’t mean they have to prance around in their underwear for half the movie. I guess that was thrown in for the male audience members.

Anyway, they crash the wedding and flee immediately once they find out that the groom is Peter, not his brother. Just after they run from the church, wouldn’t you know it, the bride (Posey) and groom mutually decide to call the whole thing off. And the rest is history.

Despite this cynical analysis of the plot, I say, kudos to The Sweetest Thing for being notably un-sappy. There are some funny scenes—for example, Jane (Blair), another girlfriend of Christina’s, having sex with her new boyfriend, who happens to be wearing a purple hippo suit because he works at a children’s hospital. There are some Farrelly Brothers-esque gross-out scenes—like Jane getting stuck on said boyfriend’s piercing while performing oral sex. We’ve come a long way since the first toilet ever shot in a movie, kids (that was in Psycho in 1960).

For the low, low price of $15 million, Cameron Diaz can carry a movie. Though she’s gorgeous, funny, and brilliant, and such an easy target of hateful envy, I give her a lifetime of credit for her frizzy-haired role in Being John Malkovich.

"I think every third generation has an actress like Cameron Diaz—someone who is beautiful and is also incredibly gifted with comic timing," says Director Kumble.

I don’t see The Sweetest Thing as a film we’ll want to watch over and over, but if you’re in the mood for a mindless, quirky chick-flick, this one’s for you.

Michelle Fajkus

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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