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THE SWEETEST THING

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane, Jason Bateman, Parker Posey
Director: Roger Kumble
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1, Standard 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 84 Minutes
Release Date: August 20, 2002

“Maybe if you didn’t play it so safe, Mr. Safey-Poo, you might actually meet a girl that you could have fun with.”

“And this brilliant love advice comes from someone who loves to play games with men, always in control. That way she never has to get TOO close.”

Film ***

Being a guy, I can honestly state that The Sweetest Thing is not the kind of movie I generally go for. It’s a romantic comedy made strictly for the female audience. And this is not because it’s a normal “chick-flick”, but rather because it’s told from the woman’s point of view, and this aspect will be a plus for woman, while the male audience might want to prepare themselves before they see how the opposite sex think and act in the dating game. But if you’re a guy who’s as madly in love with Cameron Diaz, as I have been for the longest time, you have no other choice but to see it. The movie is a whole lot of fun, too, complete with so many outrageous sight gags and sexual gags, you’d think it was made by the Farrelly brothers, who coincidentally gave Diaz her breakout role in There’s Something About Mary, four years ago.

The movie gives Ms. Diaz the opportunity to show off her silly side, which she does in just about every scene and quite well at that. It was one of those very rare cases where the simple plot didn’t matter because I focused on something else completely, which was Diaz and her female costars going all out in their comic performances. It might seem like a desperate movie, especially in a comedy, but in this case I went for it. Diaz plays Christina, a clubhopper who’s avoided, for many years, the idea of a meaningful relationship. She, along with her roommates/best friends Courtney (Christina Applegate) and Jane (Selma Blair) frequently hit the clubs, in search of the perfect “one night-stand” as opposed to the perfect guy.

That all changes when Christina meets Peter (Thomas Jane), whom she slowly comes to realize as the perfect man for her, changing just about all of her perspectives on the love issue. When she is informed that he will be participating in his brother’s upcoming wedding, Courtney lures Christina with her on a short road trip to find him so that she can confess her feelings to him. What follows is an endless series of gags varying from misunderstandings to public embarrassments to such discreet moments as a howler when a biker sees what he thinks is the two women engaging in a love making session, when really one is bending down to hunt for the other’s lip gloss. Another big sight gag comes when Christina, in a bathroom stall, observes some graffiti, which leads to a hole in the wall, which…I won’t go any further, you simply have to see it.

You either go with this kind of picture, or you don’t, but I think fans, men and women alike, who enjoy such comedies as American Pie and There’s Something About Mary will find a lot to enjoy in The Sweetest Thing, and at a breezy hour and twenty five minutes, it delivers the promised laughs quite well. Credit must go to Ms. Diaz, as well as Christina Applegate who is endlessly hysterical, for going all out in terms of displaying a silly side that we haven’t seen before.

Video ***1/2

A very sweet presentation offering from Columbia Tri Star, whose video quality is just what you would expect, or at least hope to get from them in their new releases. The anamorphic picture quality is sharp all around, especially in outdoor sequences, in which colors also illume with a certain naturalness. Darkly lit scenes transfer very well, too. Just shows a slight instance of softness in a brief scene or two, but otherwise a grand presentation.

Audio ***

A pleasant little audio kick is offered here with CTS’ nicely done 5.1 audio mix. The sound quality really shows off with the movie’s soundtrack, which includes a mixture of old dance songs along with some recent ones. Dialogue is delivered in a crisp mode, as expected, and such settings, as crowded night clubs, provide some good use of background sound.

Features ***

Included on this disc is a running commentary by director Roger Kumble and writer Nancy M. Pimental, two featurettes; “Politically Erect” and “A Day in the Life of Nancy M. Pimental, storyboard comparisons, and trailers for this film and additional CTS titles, including Charlie’s Angels, Mr. Deeds, Panic Room, Enough, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Wild Things.

Summary:

The Sweetest Thing is a perfect comedy vehicle for Cameron Diaz, and fans of hers, as well as those searching for some explicit gags will have a stinging good time.