The Sweetest Thing (Unrated Version, 2002)
Review by HTQ4

Directed by Roger Kumble
Written by Nancy Pimental
Starring Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane, Parker Posey


Anamorphic: Yes
My Advice: Rent it

Christina Walters (Diaz) is a player. She has been through more men than Men's Warehouse. Her friends, Courtney (Applegate) and Jane (Blair) love to give her a hard time about it. When Jane has a bad breakup with her boyfriend, they take her out for a night on the town, where Christina meets the man who finally pushes the right buttons for her. His name is Peter (Jane). The problem is that's one of the few pieces of information about him. She also gets that he is going to be at a wedding that next weekend. They part ways at the bar, but there was obviously an attraction there, so Christina finds herself "really falling" for the first time in her life. So much so that she and Courtney road-trip halfway across California just to try to find this guy.

So, is it a buddy film? Is it a chick-flick? Is it a road-trip movie? Is it a gross-out movie? Don't waste a lot of time on these questions, because it's really not sure either. It has just enough of each of these elements to make sure that the others don't work. The only part of this film that is praiseworthy is Christina Applegate. She acts circles around Cameron Diaz and Diaz doesn't seem to be aware of it at all. Her timing is so much better and cleaner than that of Diaz and most of the few genuinely funny moments are totally hers. Blair seemed to almost get lost in the mix. She has her moments, but her character is so periphery that she almost seems pointless at times. On the other hand, I longed for more scenes with Jason Bateman and Thomas Jane. They really seemed to click in to each other's rhythms very well and it showed.

To be fair to the cast, they were working with a script that was problematic at best. Mostly for the reasons I mentioned before, but also because the a majority of the dialogue is very stiff and did not seem at all natural. There are scenes that seem to come from somewhere in the next galaxy that do not make any sense whatsoever. For example, there is a scene in a restaurant where the three girls suddenly break out into a dance number about male genitalia's size in relation to the size of their own genitalia. The song is titled "Too Big to Fit in Here" and it bears a striking resemblance to "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.

The DVD, while seemingly packed with special features, isn't all that great either. The commentary track is one of those that has a large group of people that mostly reminisce about the shooting of the film and make you feel like you are missing a lot of really funny inside jokes. They also fall prey to the common problem of getting too many actors in one place, so they wind up trying to talk louder and more than the others.

The Politically Erect featurette is not that great, because it's just the cast talking about what a comedic genius director Kumble is (and to be honest, some of the scenes they show of him directing, he was actually funnier than what was happening in front of the camera). A Day in the Life of Nancy Pimental is kind of the same thing, except it's about the writer. Apparently, she is touted for being some kind of visionary for taking the concept of The Buddy Movie and casting females instead of males. I don't see it as all that revolutionary, but the producers of this featurette sure did. So whatever.

The DVD case lists "never-before-seen" footage as a special feature, but it is edited back in to the feature, so if you haven't seen the theatrical release of the film you have to try to make it through the commentary track to figure out which scenes were "never before seen." In other words, there's not an option on the special features menu to show you which scenes were not seen before. Oh yeah, there is a DVD-ROM link to the Sweetest Thing website, but there's not that much to it and there is no promise of it being updated anytime soon. What you get is a Shockwave site where they keep some of the standard DVD special features stuff like Production Notes, Cast and Crew bios, etc. The main portion of the site is divided into three sections: one for each of the main characters. When you click on one of them, it takes you to another page that tries to get you to play a woman's magazine style "love quiz." Really, that's about it.

Pretty much everything about this DVD is keeping it off the purchase list, but it's worth renting to see Applegate's performance. Watch the scenes with her in and then take it back that night, maybe they'll give you an early bird discount or something.

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