The Sweetest Thing (15)

Review by Jack Foley

HOLLYWOOD’S continuing obsession with gross-out humour shows little sign of abating if Cameron Diaz’s latest is anything to go by, a supposedly contemporary romantic comedy that is little more than an affront to good taste.

Written by Nancy M Pimental (a former South Park scribe) and co-starring Selma Blair and Christina Applegate, The (far from) Sweetest Thing is a messy hangover of a movie; every bit as embarrassing as one of the sexual mishaps it frequently depicts - and one which deserves to stain the CV of everyone associated with it!

Diaz stars as insatiable sexual tigress Christina Walters, a sassy bloke-magnet who is far more interested in meeting Mr Right Now than Mr Right. Together with her equally non-choosy bosom buddies, Applegate and Blair, Walters sets about breaking the hearts of every good man in San Francisco until, that is, she meets Thomas Jane’s Peter and falls in love… only for him to disappear the next day.

Cue the obligatory cross-state pursuit, as Christina sets off on a road trip with her best friend in tow, to find true love - or the nearest sick bag!

The Sweetest Thing attempts to cash in on the latest fad for gross-out humour by trying to go one-up on anything the Farrelly Brothers might dare to include. Hence, anything below the belt is fair game.

Aside from the usual smattering of crass jokes, mostly involving female genitalia, Applegate gets a penis in the eye, Blair has to contend with a semen-stained dress in a launderette full of close friends and relatives and there is an especially painful fellatio sequence involving a set of tonsils and a piercing.

Worse still, the movie’s insistence on throwing in singing to (supposedly) add to the charm, helps to deliver the year’s most cringe-inducing on-screen moment, a protracted song and dance number, entitled The Penis Song, which will have you wishing your chair could swallow you whole (I can’t remember squirming in a cinema seat for so long).

Even the outtakes fail to find the laughter spot, making this a strong contender for one of the year’s worst movies.

Diaz, fast becoming the queen of gross-out, fails to recapture any of the charm she displayed in comedies such as The Mask or There’s Something About Mary, and there is a very real concern that she is fast becoming nothing more than a cute piece of arse in some very skimpy knickers (perhaps the long-awaited Scorsese epic, The Gangs of New York, will restore some respect).

And Roger Kumble’s flat direction fails to produce any redeeming features - especially since it takes a number of ill-advised swipes at far better productions, from the Farrellys’ through to Grease.

The producers probably envisaged a big screen comedy that out-stripped Sex and the City, while giving the likes of American Pie and Road Trip a run for their money. What they got is a puerile wannabe which, stripped bare, is something in dire need of covering up.