Rated R - Running Time: 1:24 - Released 4/12/02

The Sweetest Thing, at its worst moments, is like a female version of Freddy Got Fingered. At its best, it's like a 1½-hour episode of Friends. Yeah—that's at its best. Written by South Park staff writer Nancy Pimental and directed by Roger Kumble, whose only directing credits are the abysmal Cruel Intentions and its direct-to-video prequel cleverly titled Cruel Intentions 2, this film mixes smut and wacky girlfriend antics in equal parts, often scoring the guilty chuckle in spite of itself, with plenty of bra-and-panty shots to please the guys. Luckily it stars Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate, who, while they do not embody the archetypes of thespianism, interact easily and seem to be having a really good time. Thomas Jane, who inhabits the film's one substantial male part, seems mainly there for decoration.

Diaz plays Christina Walters, a female Casanova—a player who uses men for fun and sex and never calls them back, with a long line of emotionally wrecked ex-lovers behind her. In trying to teach her roommate Jane (Selma Blair), who was recently dumped by her boyfriend, how to take life and love less seriously, Christina introduces her to an attractive and anonymous man with the highly symbolic name Peter (Jane) at a noisy nightclub. While Jane and Peter don't hit it off (Jane ends up tangling tongues with another guy whom she describes as "so cute—so stupid"), Christina can't get The Beautiful Peter out of her mind. So she and her other roomate, Courtney (Applegate), decide to take a road trip to Peter's brother's wedding several hours away. This trip is a girl-girl yuk fest fraught with all sorts of uterine-fueled adventures, but it ends disappointingly for Christina when the wedding turns out to be Peter's. So while Peter and his intended (Parker Posey) decide they don't want to get married after all, Christina and Courtney drive dejectedly home and the film attempts to switch gears from a sexy sorority party to a romance with some actual meaning. It isn't a comfortable transition.

Any success this film has comes from the obvious enjoyment its players have together. Boasting such infantile situations as two (not one, but two) females suffering potential facial injuries caused by penises, and a -ahem- suspicious dress stain being tasted by a dry cleaner to determine its origin, its script is definitely not its strong point. But the aforementioned interaction saves the film on numerous counts, and it really does succeed simply on the abilities of Diaz, Applegate, and Blair to be funny. Since Diaz's breakthrough film There's Something About Mary, seminal fluid has become an unfortunate staple of raunchy comedies, and no disgusting or embarrasing problem is out of reach for subject matter. But if you have a cast who has fun while they're making the film, chances are the audience will have fun too. Such is the case here. ***

Copyright 2002 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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