Though the clean-and-sober chump played by Matthew Perry in Reginald Hudlin’s latest would like nothing more than to service Elizabeth Hurley, Serving Sara is foremost a comedy about serving subpoenas. The filmmakers underplay the whole who-knew-they- had-to-go-this-far-to-hand-out-a-piece-of-paper bit, though staggering playtime is given to the inept material’s equal-op offenses. Joe Tyler (Perry) is of the water-cooler generation, supercharging office banter with heavy enunciation. When Joe calls his very Italian, inter-office competitor Tony (Vincent Pastore) a “Nostradumbass” for stepping on his turf, Tony patronizes him with a clever “boo-hyphen-hoo.” Even worse are the regionally coordinated racial jokes: in Miami, a Cuban taxi driver is a “culo”; in Texas, it’s the gun-lovers; and in New York, all that’s missing from Cedric the Entertainer’s “minstrel” performance is the whiteface. The film’s soundtrack is similarly calibrated: when a group of Asian entrepreneurs are paraded onto a Texas farm, the gongs and bamboo flutes resonate on cue. Joe and Sara (Hurley) make their way to the Lone Star State, where they hope to serve Sara’s husband Gordon (Campbell) before Tony can serve her. Curiously, Joe gets to serve more than a subpoena. When Perry fists a bull at the Moore Farm, it’s only a matter of time before he gets the upper hand in matters of the heart. Unlike his homemade wine, though, this vintage stinker gets funkier as it moves along.
Paramount Home Video produces some of the finest digital transfers around, but while the 1.85:1 anamorphic video treatment they give Serving Sara is free of edge enhancement and other noise, the overall presentation is noticeably flat. Fleshtones are a little on the soft side while colors have a dreary look about them. Serving Sara is mostly dialogue-driven so the Dolby Digital 5.1 track, while not distinguished, is still perfectly serviceable.
Reginald Hudlin's commentary track for this DVD edition of Serving Sara is noticeably spotty and therefore difficult to sit through. He offers little insight beyond his commentary for the film's opening title sequence, which was designed as an homage to Blake Edwards's Pink Panther films. What little impression Hudlin leaves on his commentary track, he more than makes up for on Serving Sara's behind-the-scenes featurette, where he reveals that Utah had lots of love for Big Pussy (ex-"Sopranos" star Vincent Pastore). Also included here are a lazy assortment of outtakes, deleted scenes and extended/alternate sequences. Not surprisingly, the best sequence (where Pastore is told to "fuck off" when looking for directions) was left on the cutting room floor. Also included here is the film's theatrical trailer.
Jeffrey Lyons says the film is "undeniably funny." That sound you hear is the entire world begging to differ.