Directed by Reginald Hudlin. Germany/USA. 2002.

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Four years ago, I was at a party where the topic of how short lived Hollywood careers can be. We talked about people that had performed in one great role, and either gone on to great things, or disappeared in a phoo of mediocrity. We started talking about people in the entertainment sphere who were on the way up/floundering in mediocrity and put together a pool on possible success rates. I put a package of Fudgeo cookies on Kiefer Sutherland and Matthew Perry coming back from the Valley of Near Dead Careers. So far, I think Kiefer is going to be my only horse that pays off. Matthew seems to be making a horrifying habit of making truly bad films that, despite all his obvious comedic talent demonstrated on “Friends” are disturbingly not funny. 

Serving Sara tells the predictable tale of romance in bloom between Joe, the process sever, and his servee, Sara an unaware business woman. When she discovers that her husband has been seeing another woman, is about to divorce her, and is suing her for half her assets, she bribes Joe to help her serve her husband with divorce papers first, and give her the advantage in court.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? (Insert various sarcastic comments here. I’m still a little bitter about spending $10 on this dud.)

Serving Sara. All Rights Reserved.Matthew Perry (Three to Tango, The Whole Nine Yards) despite having shown a lot of charm in previous cinematic endeavours like the aforementioned films decides to show none of it here, making his Joe totally unlikeable. Perry never puts enough effort into his role to make his character three-dimensional.  Perry’s best humour comes from a self effacing sarcasm, but here there seems to be a touch of bitter anger laced in it, making Joe’s humour less amiable, and more mean spirited. Perry has the talent to carry a film by himself (like The Whole Nine Yards. Don’t even try to tell me that would have been a amusing without him.) Being a typical country girl, I found Joe’s reaction to the cow-scene funny, but that moment fell into this movies big problem of having given away all the amusing moments in the trailer. A charmless role, that could have been much better if the script hadn’t been so banal. 

Elizabeth Hurley (Ed-TV, Bedazzled) plays the naive Sara. Here again is a case of a performer having shown a lot of charm in previous outings neglecting to demonstrate any of her talent. In Bedazzled Hurley blasted past most every critics hackles by mentally manipulating her prey to deliciously funny outcomes. Her onscreen power (which is a nice blend of talent and resentment inducing good looks) is totally wasted as Sara, as the role affords her no opportunity to be smart, savvy, charming, or funny. As well, in a romantic comedy an audience generally wants to see the female lead leaving her current love (for any number of reasons; he’s a twerp/cheating/not as charming as male lead number two). In Serving Sara I found I didn’t really care who Sara ended up with; her ex husband was an absolute nit, and Joe was an ass. I half expected her to throw her hands up midway through the film and announce she was running off with a ranch hand from Texas.

In my estimation Serving Sara was a colossal disappointment. The roles are poorly performed, the script is sub-par, all the best jokes are present in the trailer, and those jokes, as well as the few and far between ones in the rest of the film just aren’t funny. If you are a fan of either Perry and Hurley check out their earlier works and avoid this one. Here’s hoping whoever makes their film choices does a better job next time.

Jen Johnston
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