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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 12, 2002

'Sweetest Thing' is like wackier 'Sex and the City'

By Jack Garner
Gannett News Service

THE SWEETEST THING (Rated R, with gross-outs, profanity and sex galore) Three Stars (Good)

A blend of old-school romance and new-school gross-out humor in a female variation of the type of sex comedy made by the Farrelly brothers. Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Thomas Jane co-star for director Roger Kumble. Columbia, 84 mins.

If the Farrelly brothers had sisters who also made movies, they could've made "The Sweetest Thing."

Like "There's Something About Mary" and "Shallow Hal," "The Sweetest Thing" blends old-school romance with new-school gross-out humor.

But this time, the script is by a woman (Nancy M. Pimental). And three women — played by Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair — are the protagonists.

As a "South Park" writer, Pimental has a history with raunchy material. Here we're treated to an inordinate number of gags in bathrooms, along with myriad oral sex bits.

And, yes, that once-verboten male bodily fluid, first seen in "There's Something About Mary," makes an encore appearance.

Yet, the film remains funny and strangely appealing, at least if you're open-minded and feeling silly. Low expectations also help.

Director Roger Kumble (of "Cruel Intentions") offers just enough sweet and traditional romantic comedy to counter the crudity. And there's the inimitable Diaz, holding it all together.

Once again, she's Hollywood's Teflon comedy queen. Nothing gross sticks to the likable lass; she can cavort through a field of fertilizer and still smell like a rose.

Diaz, Applegate and Blair play best buddies, in a variation of the old three-on-a-match Hollywood formula of women friends who hang out together and commiserate on each other's loves, lost and found.

The more contemporary example, of course, is "Sex and the City," taken to a comic extreme.

Each of the three is looking for love, and often in the wrong places. Christina (Diaz) tells her friends they shouldn't be so intense. "Instead of looking for Mr. Right, look for Mr. Right Now."

That's just when she bumps into the handsome, carefree Peter (played by Thomas Jane who was so good as Mickey Mantle in HBO's "61.")

Despite Christina's admonitions about not getting serious, she begins her pursuit, which includes a stop at one of the wackiest wedding ceremonies in movie history.

The simplistic romance-plot is an excuse to string together a lot of gags. Most work, but a few don't. (A foul-mouthed old man is a cheap shot, and the filmmakers run it into the ground with encores.)

Diaz and the surprisingly good Applegate (Courtney) make appealing friends, and are perfect comic foils for each other. Blair (Jane) is also good as the slightly more earnest friend, while Parker Posey makes a welcome contribution in a cameo as the bride at the wacky wedding.

All four women elevate "The Sweetest Thing" with their carefree sense of light-hearted fun, and apparent willingness to do most anything for a laugh.

And I mean anything.

Rated R, with gross-outs, profanity and sex galore.