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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.44%
Worth A Look: 4.88%
Average: 9.76%
Pretty Bad: 29.27%
Total Crap53.66%

3 reviews, 23 user ratings

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Serving Sara
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by Erik Childress

"Serve the Filmmakers For Laughless Plagiarism"
1 stars

Laughless comedies. Teen comedies. Gross-out comedies. The bulk of which can be a Torquemada-like experience, especially when sitting in a movie theater without Charles Bronson digging escape tunnels for you. In most cases, you can usually expect more when some actual talent is involved. The cast of TV’s Friends has had a spotty track record past the small tube, with Chandler Bing (aka Matthew Perry) scoring the best on-base percentage with enjoyable hits like Fools Rush In and The Whole Nine Yards. Filming wrapped over a year ago on this, his latest, and its been sitting on a shelf since, waiting to be released and drop Perry's batting average considerably.

Someone obviously was on a high after watching Midnight Run when pitching this project, because it reeks of the effort of a high school writer scribing his term paper the night before its due and changing key words from the encyclopedia so it can’t technically be called plagiarism. Remember Midnight Run? It starred Robert DeNiro as a bounty hunter chasing down a mob accountant played by Charles Grodin who skipped bail. Serving Sara has Perry as a process server chasing down a “trophy wife” (Elizabeth Hurley) whose philandering husband (Bruce Campbell) is about to surprise her with divorce papers.

DeNiro had a rival bounty hunter (John Ashton) after the same mark and sabotaging his every move. Perry has a rival process server (Vincent Pastore) after the same mark and sabotaging his every move. DeNiro had a mistrustful boss (Joe Pantoliano) constantly worried about where he is and only concerned about the completion of the job. Perry has a mistrustful boss (Cedric the Entertainer, whose office full of stress relievers relieves no such stress on the audience) constantly worried about where he is and only concerned about the completion of the job. DeNiro used to be a cop, but was chased out of town after a run-in with a local mob boss, losing his wife along the way. Perry used to be a lawyer, but decided to quit after defending some mob enforcers, losing his wife in the process. See how aggravating it is to read, see and hear the same thing over and over again?

That’s what Serving Sara is like. It’s an overly long madcap relationship road comedy that failed to get more than maybe a smile or two out of me. The problems begin with Perry, who is woefully miscast as the cynical and mean tracker. Perry is a charming enough actor who can wisecrack with the best of ‘em, usually because he plays a guy with way too much common sense for the room. Here, he’s unshaven, smokes a lot and trades insults that must have sounded great reading them rat-a-tat on paper, but here feel stale and childish. We don’t buy Perry as a jerk and in a comedy, its oft-putting not to like him or to not find him funny. If he wanted to stretch his acting chops, he should try a drama next time like Friends co-star, Jennifer Aniston.

The one twist that Serving Sara offers is having Hurley turn the tables on her husband by hiring Perry to disregard her and serve him instead, thus giving her the upper hand in the divorce settlement and a potential one million in Perry’s pockets. This takes a half hour to setup and the film would have only lasted another half hour at best if the laws of the running time stretch weren’t at work.

Once Perry accepts the proposal, all he has to do is serve the husband papers, except he doesn’t know what he looks like forcing him to bring Hurley along who is told to stay out of sight once she points him out. Fair enough, but what about that picture she had in her purse? Yes, she tore it in half and put gum over the husband’s face, but surely this is something they could have used considering she still had it after the mission was launched. But NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! With the time stretch laws colliding with the laws of moronic movie characters, Hurley then yells at her husband before Perry gets to him, giving him time to escape with the hapless server forced to do battle with a Price Is Right model (Nicki Ziering) posing as a fitness instructor.

If this is what poses as comedy to you, then come on down because you’re in for more of the same, like the inexplicable scene where Perry is forced to act as a veteranerian to stimulate a bull’s innards so it can make a donation to the First National Bank of Bull Sperm. This scene should be studied in comedy classes around the world in how to not make a scene funny. Tom Green just looking at a horse’s shlong was funnier in Freddy Got Fingered. In fact, the word “shlong” is funnier.

Comedy writers of the world unite and say it with me – Goo on someone’s ear is just gross until you attach the context of what’s funny about the situation in relation to the characters. Same goes with sticking your arm up a bull’s ass. In and of itself – just gross. Here’s a tip for the screenwriters of Serving Sara for your next script. Write a scene with characters named after yourselves, displaying their paychecks proud for writing a bargain basement script and then having them insert their own heads up a bull’s ass. For me, at least, instant comedy.

Writing comedy is such a delicate affair. Some are naturals. Others try too hard. Then there are those who wouldn’t know funny if their head was up a bull’s ass. You want to talk about strained? I wonder how George W. “Don’t Mess With Texas” Bush will feel about this portrayal of his home state? An airport sign advertises the state as the home of “old sparky” (the electric chair) complete with a McDonalds-like tally of how many proudly served. Poor Bruce Campbell gets to do very little as the rich good ol’ boy husband, in love with his cowboy hat, and forced during the film’s finale to wade through a collection of longhorn statues and a monster truck rally where every spectator carries a gun. Wasting a talent like Campbell may be this film’s biggest sin even if it is just a warmup for a wider audience to see his virtuoso star turn in the upcoming Bubba Ho-Tep.

If this film truly wanted to be madcap, it should have taken a cue from its third act which forces Perry into a beat-the-clock mode when a loophole gives him 49 minutes to serve Campbell. The whole movie could have been like that and spared us the forced comic contrivances and intimate character moments that feel even more labored. It must be nice to have a single heartfelt conversation with someone as stunningly beautiful as Hurley (especially someone who can say “hot bath” like she does) and have them instantly fall for you, but in reality it takes a little longer.

There is one genuinely funny moment in the film, although one that obviously escaped the attention of everyone involved with it. During the obligatory delayed romance where two budding mates must temporarily break apart, Perry’s character drops his guard and just about blows their whole plan. Hurley’s response to him – “One look at a girl in tight pants and big tits and you turn stupid?” Um…..isn’t that the basis for the entire plot?

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originally posted: 08/23/02 08:55:24
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User Comments

5/13/16 Jamie Painful to watch -Liz Hurley is ridiculously awful and plastic. Just bad. 1 stars
3/10/14 Charles Tatum One or two laughs, but Perry needs a hit on TV again quick 2 stars
9/16/07 Tiffany Losco I think it was a great funny movie. I love the outfit liz wore, lol trailer trash 4 stars
1/28/07 David Pollastrini $10,000 to serve a subpena? HAHAHAHAHAHA! 2 stars
2/07/05 Jeff Anderson What a horrid piece of dragon dump! A sad waste of the great Bruce Campbell's talents. BAD! 1 stars
5/12/04 malcolm i don't remember even gigling 2 stars
12/21/03 Matt I'm obviously the only person who LOVES this me. It'ss great, so funny! 5 stars
6/09/03 John Aster Habig crude, nasty, predictable, Matthew Perry saves it from Total Crap 2 stars
4/17/03 Shadaan Felfeli Ahem !!!!! 1 stars
3/13/03 Flounder Not funny in the least. I laughed mabye twice the entire movie and I was being generous 1 stars
2/15/03 Mike Hunt i banged liz hurley last nite 2 stars
12/28/02 Rayna Kuzio Actually the movie wasn't THAT bad...Hurley is soo pretty! I would't buy it though... 3 stars
11/26/02 Ashley Corpening You'd be right, Sylvie, except she hasn't stopped playing the devil! 2 stars
11/22/02 Sylvie Alice Borden Elizabeth Hurley was better playing the devil. 3 stars
11/22/02 Stephanie Throckmorton Can't Elizabeth Hurley play anything besides an asshole? Story sometimes amuzing but geez! 3 stars
11/13/02 Andrew Carden Excellent Cast and Screenplay, Although Humor Wears Off 4 stars
9/16/02 Uncle Salty I'd take a bullet for Bruce Campbell, but I still couldn't sit through this one. 1 stars
9/08/02 Cliché Master This film actually gave me a headache, it was so unlikable. 1 stars
9/06/02 KingNeutron Ok, so I'm in love with Liz Hurley. I liked + laughed at it. Xcpt for the hand/bull scene. 3 stars
9/05/02 Dominik Duprelle Hurley is the WORST actress on the planet and to view this is to KNOW pain. 1 stars
8/31/02 .Choadushouse. Horrible. Walked out after 20 minutes. This's the only movie I've rated "Total Crap" ever. 1 stars
8/27/02 K-ronik I'm embarassed to say I saw this for free. I actually elected to lose that ninety minutes. 1 stars
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  23-Aug-2002 (PG-13)



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