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 Pictures
- 100 min
- Reginald Hudlin
- Jay Scherick, David Ronn
- Matthew Perry, Elizabeth Hurley, Vincent Pastore, Bruce Campbell, Cedric the Entertainer
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