YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Movie Review

Silly Antics Get the 'Sweetest' Venue for Offbeat Love Story


Cameron Diaz doesn't have to do much for her $15 million in "The Sweetest Thing" besides be Cameron Diaz. The movie is, for all intents and purposes, about being Cameron Diaz. Luckily, there is someone named Cameron Diaz who was not only available but does the job quite well.

And with the able-bodied (you can't miss it) assistance of Christina Applegate and Selma Blair, Diaz makes what might have been a cookie-cutter comedy into one of the fresher releases this year, a movie with a real anarchic flair. No, she's not Groucho Marx.

No, it isn't really a movie, as such--more a Farrelly brothers-style arrangement of stand-up routines. And yes, too many of those jokes fall back on the old reliable "Something About Mary"-esque festival of body fluids and strategic equipment (although one sequence involving Blair's Jane trying to get a Clintonized dress dry-cleaned is among the funnier set pieces anyone's come up with in years).

Still, there's a willingness to take chances and a frankness about the emotional and other byproducts of sex that's refreshing, as well as a smartly vulgar script by Nancy Pimental (a former co-host of 'Win Ben Stein's Money').

And the three actresses accomplish that old canard, making it seem as if making the movie was the best time they've ever had. It might have been hell. But it feels like fun.

This is particularly true of Applegate, erstwhile "Married ... With Children" lumber-camp toy (the studio's phrase, not mine) who as the wiser, earthier Courtney is the best sidekick Diaz is ever going to find. Think Eve Arden with breast implants. During the movie's centerpiece trip by Courtney and Christina (Diaz) to find a wedding at which they will find Christina's new love bunny, Peter (Thomas Jane), they break into an impromptu, apropos-of-nothing movie montage, during which Applegate's impersonation of Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" is so catty you can smell the litter box.

Story? What story? Christina, Courtney and Jane are tired of the singles scene, sad that their "hearts have been stomped on" so many times (although they're all clearly the stomper, rather than stompee, type) and crave true romance. The trick is getting from a conclusion made five minutes into a movie to an ending 90 minutes away. It can be a scary prospect. In "The Sweetest Thing" it is mostly a hoot.

MPAA rating: R, for strong sexual content and language.

'The Sweetest Thing'

Cameron Diaz...Christina

Christina Applegate...Courtney

Thomas Jane...Peter

Selma Blair...Jane

Jason Bateman...Roger

Parker Posey...Judy

Columbia Pictures presents a Konrad Pictures production, released by Sony Pictures. Director Roger Kumble. Producer Cathy Konrad. Executive producers Ricky Strauss, Stuart M. Besser. Screenplay by Nancy M. Pimental. Cinematographer Anthony B. Richmond. Editor Wendy Greene Bricmont, David Rennie. Costume designer Denise Wingate. Music Edward Shearmur. Production designer Jon Gary Steele. Art director Gershon Ginsburg. Set decorator Maggie Martin. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.

In general release.

Los Angeles Times Articles