The Sweetest Thing (R)

Review Date: April 12th, 2002

In The Sweetest Thing, a sexy, club-hopping single woman tries to get the guy who got away with the help of her two friends.


The smart, sexy and single Christina Walters (Cameron Diaz) lives by one rule: ''Avoid searching for Mr. Right and focus on Mr. Right Now,'' as she tells her heartbroken roommate Jane (Selma Blair). To help poor Jane forget about her man troubles, Christina and her other roommate, Courtney (Christina Applegate), take her out for a night of clubbing and dancing. As soon as Christina hits the dance floor, men fall at her feet and dance around her in a scene that looks straight out of A Night at the Roxbury, minus the Butabi brothers. Christina is having a good time turning men away until a good-looking guy (Thomas Jane) puts her in her place. Now she must have him, but unfortunately for the audience, the chase is not better than the kill. With a few scraps of information, Christina and Courtney set off on a road trip (if it's even that) to find this mysterious stranger while Jane stays home and spends the rest of the film in every embarrassing and compromising position imaginable with her newfound beau. I still can't decide which story line was more painful to watch: Jane requesting Advil after doing who knows what with her boyfriend, or Christina getting poked in the eye with a penis in a gas station restroom.


One has to wonder what three talented actresses like Cameron Diaz (Vanilla Sky), Christina Applegate (Just Visiting) and Selma Blair (Legally Blonde) were thinking when they said yes to this project. Not even Diaz's ear-to-ear grin and infectious laugh could render this film remotely entertaining. Although her performance was slightly endearing, I doubt anyone will relate to her character's plight that her boobs are too droopy now that she's 28 years old. Applegate, who like a phoenix rising out of the ashes has managed to eclipse her Married With Children past, has taken two steps back here. Like Diaz, it's not so much her performance, which was fine, but why she would take this role in the first place. Her character's only purpose in the film is to pander to Christina's every whim. And poor Blair: Her most memorable scenes involve doing a guy in a purple elephant suit in some sort of broom closet and getting a certain part of a man's anatomy caught in her throat. It all seemed a little demeaning, especially since she is capable of so much more. Parker Posey (The Anniversary Party), who has a tiny role as a runaway bride, was probably the most impressive of them all.


In trying to buck the stereotype of women being prude and demure, director Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions) has managed to create a whole new cliché: raunchy, oversexed women. While the film prides itself on being a romantic comedy ''without the sugar,'' it could have done away with a lot more tired ingredients. In one scene, for example, Christina and Courtney are trying on outfits in a store when one of them exclaims, ''Do we have time for a movie montage?'' I appreciated that the writers had recognized this annoying feature and even had the forte to make fun of it. But then they actually go and do one after making audiences believe they would be spared. Talk about cruel intentions. Every joke falls flat, mostly because writer Nancy Pimental didn't know when to stop. When Jane brings a stained dress she wore on a hot date to the cleaners and is mortified when the cleaner inspects the stain and asks what exactly it is, it's funny--until they drag it out for what seems like an eternity. Her priest comes in, then her former schoolteacher. Does Pimental not get the concept of leaving on a high note?

Bottom Line

Despite its talented cast, The Sweetest Thing is not the least bit funny or romantic. It dares to be different but fails miserably. Even Diaz, who was a riot in There's Something About Mary, couldn't turn this one around.