It's a Ladette Thing
It's very difficult not to end up comparing "The Sweetest Thing" to the Farrelly brother's "There's Something About Mary" and not just because they both star the lovely Cameron Diaz. Both "The Sweetest Thing" and "There's Something About Mary" try to deliver laughs through risque humour and an array of body fluid gags. But where as "There's Something About Mary" is memorably funny "The Sweetest Thing" isn't. Oh it's memorable, well who couldn't remember a gag about a woman getting stuck giving a man oral pleasure, but the timing is off and it goes from being sort of funny to just unfunny. It also doesn't help that the main romantic comedy storyline ends up being ignored in favour of an incessant flow of body fluid gags and so there is little else other than the jokes in "The Sweetest Thing" to try and entertain.
Having split from her boyfriend, Jane Burns (Selma Blair - Legally Blonde) turns to her closest friends Christina (Cameron Diaz - Vanilla Sky) and Courtney (Christina Applegate - Prince Charming) who decide to take her out clubbing to find her a "Mr. Right Now" to take her mind off of things. But it is Christina who appears to find "Mr Right Now" or even "Mr. Right" when she gets talking to Peter Donahue (Thomas Jane - Deep Blue Sea). But fearing any form of relationship Christina lets him slip though her fingers and then talks Courtney into helping her track him down knowing that he is attending a wedding at the weekend.
As storylines go "The Sweetest Thing" doesn't push any boundaries when it comes to the romantic tale it uses. It is for the most obvious as we watch Christina trying to track down the handsome Peter who she clicked with at a night club. And whilst there is a little surprise thrown in half way through, one which is pretty pointless within minutes of it revealing itself, you know that by the end of the movie Christina and Peter will be living happily ever after. It's not really a criticism as very few romantic comedies manage to come up with something close to being original but what is a criticism is that other than the twist the storyline ends up book ending the movie with what goes on in between being little more than a collection of set pieces.
Now the thought of Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair behaving like ladettes isn't that off putting, nor is the idea that they end up in some unfortunate situations. But the trouble is that all of these unfortunate situations end up being unfunny because they all go on too long and appear to be trying to mimic the humour of "There's Something About Mary". So what this means is that we get a joke where Jane takes a dress to a dry cleaners to get a stain removed, yes that stain is male body fluid, and then we watch to her embarrassment the owner of the cleaners, a family friend, scratch, sniff and lick the stain to try and work out what it is. For about 20 seconds that joke is funny but director Roger Kumble just doesn't know when to stop and instead lets the joke wear on long after it stopped being amusing. And the same can be said for pretty much every joke in the movie from Courtney and Christina driving in their underwear through to Courtney letting the women in a wash room feel her breasts as they are new.
And it has to be said that "The Sweetest Thing" is a confusing movie because it seems like a movie which should be for women but made by men. So various jokes such as Christina and Courtney dancing in their underwear, a glory hole gag and a joke about Christina giving Courtney oral sex whilst driving all seem to be geared for men to enjoy. But then you have the element of women being ladettes, a corny as hell 80s fashion montage to music and Christina dancing up the streets. The blend just doesn't work and makes it feel confused.
But whilst "The Sweetest Thing" has a lot which is wrong with it you can't but help enjoy the performances from Cameron Diaz, Christian Applegate and Selma Blair. Now none of them put in great performances but they don't hold back when it comes to the comedy and seem to be enjoying being as outrageously stupid as possible. And in a way the no holds barred approach to their performances and the gags makes it kind of entertaining, which is a good thing as the likes of Thomas Jane and Jason Batemen fail to really make an impact.
What this all boils down to is that "The Sweetest Thing" is not terrible but it is wrong. It has several issues from it being little more than a series of set pieces through to the jokes going on long after they were ever funny. But it is the fact that it feels like a chick flick made by men gives it a strange feeling with scenes which feel more like male fantasies rather than women's.