Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 1:38 - Released 8/23/02
Gee, I don't know which movie to dislike moreServing Sara or this week's other local release, Andrew Niccol's Simone. While Simone takes a high-minded idea and flubs it, Sara doesn't even try that hard. This is just another entry on the list of excruciatingly stupid comedies designed to waste our time and take our money. Directed by Reginald Hudlin (House Party), it pairs two likeable, beautiful actors who apparently can only play one type of role, and presents them with a script (written by Spin City team Jay Scherick and David Ronn) that lets them do it, a script designed to appeal to moviegoers whose goal is to sit in an air-conditioned theater for 1½ hours with their brains on "pause."
The story involves a New York City process server named Joe
Tyler (Friends's Matthew Perry, playing another intellectual
fish-out-of-water), who states in an opening voiceover, "My
job sucks." Although Joe would really like to be a Napa Valley
winemaker, he is forced to settle for growing grapes in his Manhattan
apartment and subpoena-serving for his boss, Ray (Cedric the Entertainer,
playing another self-consciously conceited black man who dresses
like a pimp). Joe has been in a slump lately, and the reason for
this is that his jealous co-worker Tony (Vincent Pastore, playing
another fat Italian thug) has been secretly informing Joe's "marks"
that they are about to be served in order to derail Joe's efforts
and get the commissions himself.
The latest such mark is Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley, playing
another shallow, flawless beauty). Before Joe arrives to serve
her with divorce papers from her husband Gordon, a wealthy Texas
cattle rancher (Bruce Campbell, playing a stereotyped, cowboy-hatted
good-ole-boy), Tony warns her with a phone call, hoping he can
make it to her first. Although she tries to escape, Joe finally
tracks her down, mentioning that she stands to get a much smaller
settlement than if she had initiated the divorce. Then the two
strike a deal: if Joe will agree to destroy her papers and help
her serve Gordon first, she will give him 10% of her expected
$10 million settlement, (or $1 million), allowing him to retire
and play with his grapes. The rest of the film follows the pair
as they travel to Texas to serve Gordon (pursued by Tony, who
wants to serve Sara), and getting involved in such wackily uncharacteristic
activities as bovine masturbation and monster truck rallies. And,
of course, falling in love.
What can I say about a movie like this? It will appeal to its target audience in the way cotton candy appeals to a kid at the county fair. It's insubstantial, quickly gone, and leaves no lasting effect except perhaps a mild case of sugar shock. If you've got too much money and too little to do, and you're a fan of Friends and/or Estee Lauder commercials, Serving Sara is perfect for you. Otherwise, serve yourselfand wait for the rental. **