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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Sweetest Thing (2002)

"Come on, don't be gay in God's house! Gimme a good slap!"
- Roger (Jason Bateman)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: December 04, 2002

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair
Other Stars: Thomas Jane, Jason Bateman
Director: Roger Kumble

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for language, sexuality, gross humor
Run Time: 01h:30m:21s
Release Date: August 20, 2002
UPC: 043396095908
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D FA-B B

DVD Review

In Hollywood of late it seems as though the volume of bodily fluids projected onscreen directly contribute to the weekend grosses, so naturally the more the better. The Sweetest Thing may well be the best example, as the film contains perhaps the most sight-gags-to-plot ratio that I have ever seen. The problem is that shock gags here have no real bearing on the plot, and exist seemingly to move along a shoestring script, to extend the running length and to garner a bigger box office. However, it could safely be said that no matter what the film, a song about penis size, a maggot filled leftover take out box, and a joke involving oral sex, tonsils, and a piercing would have trouble finding some way to mesh with any plot.

Cameron Diaz plays Christina, a San Francisco professional who has a history of breaking men's hearts before they can break hers. Friends Courtney (Applegate) and Jane (Blair) are her closest compatriots in her struggle with the opposite sex, and the trio spends their time bouncing from club to club in the hopes of finding someone. When Christina meets Peter (Jane) by chance at a bar, something amazing happens: she has feelings for him. But before she can tell him, he leaves her with only the knowledge that his brother is getting married within a week. Armed with a plan, Christina travels with Courtney to the wedding in the hopes that she can sweep Peter into her arms.

There are numerous problems here and the list would likely take more time to detail than the film deserves. The largest flaw is the lack of a single likeable character outside of Diaz's bubbly and energetic Christina. With a trio of capable lead actresses, the viewer should come to respect each one of them; instead, Courtney and Jane create a sort of boorish lull, averting attention is from Christina. Screenwriter Nancy Pimental offers us the character of Jane, who has no bearing on the events of the plot, and places her in embarrassing sexual situations that are played just for laughs. This results in the unnecessary interruption of both the overall flow and development of the main characters for moments of childishness with Jane.

Director Roger Kumble seems unsure of how to handle the lightly comedic moments. Too often he fails to make a joke worthwhile; instead, he strangely cuts away to another sequence before the punchline is delivered. The better moments of The Sweetest Thing, including an overly friendly child during the wedding sequence, are too short and are never pushed to their potential. Kumble did a nice job with his first feature, Cruel Intentions, as he structured clearly drawn characters against a world that was as dishonest as they were. Here, he simply shows that his skills are best left outside the comedy arena.

I honestly can't say that I enjoyed this film, aside from the undeniably charismatic performance given by Diaz in a role for which she is entirely too gifted. Like Reese Witherspoon, Diaz has the ability to make the material around her rise above its level of quality and make even the worst situations seem almost tolerable. The supporting roles by Blair and Applegate are hampered by a script that gives them nothing more to do than fall into embarrassing situations.



Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: F

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The Sweetest Thing is presented in a generally eye-popping 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that at times is downright terrific. The bright colors of the San Francisco locations come off very nicely, as the bright blues of a bar interior at the start of the film practically jump off the screen. Sharpness and detail are each very well done, giving the image a very film-like appearance. The image does falter a bit in the darker sequences; the nighttime scenes show a small amount of grain, though thankfully edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. A very nice transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a very straight forward track with very little to offer aside from a nice center-channel mix as well as some sharp ambient sounds coming from the rear speakers. Dialogue sounds crisp and clear throughout, while the left and right speakers help to add to the mix with nice recreation of the music offered in the film.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English and French with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Mr. Deeds, Enough, Charlie's Angels, Cruel Intentions
Production Notes
1 Documentaries
Storyboard
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Roger Kumble, Jason Bateman, Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair.
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: A commentary track by actors Cameron Diaz, Selma Blair, Christina Applegate, and Jason Bateman as well as director Roger Kumble leads off a scant, but often hilarious, list of extra features for The Sweetest Thing. While the film is less than stellar, the commentary presented here is light years ahead of the film in terms of humor. From helium-voiced Diaz to a dryly sarcastic Blair, the track is almost constantly entertaining. My favorite bit came when Blair began to make fun of the dismal box office for the picture. I love commentaries where the participants openly discuss the poor performance and quality of a picture. The track at times does venture into silly territory, but for the most part, it is a lively and energetic track.

Politically Erect is a typical look at the making of the film in that everyone seems to be falling over one another with praise. Lighthearted, but overly saccharine. A Day In the Life of Nancy Pimental is a look at the young screenwriter. It seems as if it is supposed to be humorous, but it's hard to tell. The funniest and perhaps most truthful thing to be taken from this is that Pimental hires a young child to write her scripts—that would explain a lot.

Two storyboard sequences are available for the motorcycle scene as well as the flying takeout scene. Neither is particularly visual, so the collection of storyboards seems strange. A gallery of trailers is also offered for Charlie's Angels, Enough, Mr. Deeds, Cruel Intentions, and The Sweetest Thing. Each is offered in anamorphic widescreen and looks quite good.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

The Sweetest Thing is simply a bad film that ventures beyond the typically inane sort of humor found in other gross out pictures. Great commentary track, though.

 


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