review for The Sweetest Thing on AllMovie

The Sweetest Thing (2002)
by Karl Williams review

Essentially a dimwitted imitation of There's Something About Mary, this boring and stupid comedy is a waste of both film stock and the talents of Cameron Diaz, who should have known better. Mary achieved heights of comic hilarity because its low-brow jokes were built on a solid foundation of painful but fascinating truths: the deceptions and phony postures of courtship; the unhealthy defining of one's self-worth based on the desirability of a mate; and the selfishness of romance versus the selflessness of real love. Instead of reaching for any such similar narrative depth, screenwriter Nancy Pimental and director Roger Kumble have taken a paint-by-numbers approach in their effort to mimic the success of the Farrelly brothers. Add an ejaculate-related sequence there and a goofy song-and-dance routine here, get the same appealing, Cheshire cat-grinning star of the film you're plagiarizing, and voila, instant smash, right? Wrong, to the tune of a well-deserved box-office haul only about half the project's budget. Hollywood is a factory that exists to manufacture cheap knock-offs of successful or innovative products, so there's nothing inherently criminal about finding inspiration in a hit film. But if filmmakers are going to create a literal carbon copy, they'd better bring at least some original quality or fresh twist to the table, or face the indifference of an audience that is at least sophisticated enough to smell a total rip-off. The sweetest thing about The Sweetest Thing is that the world is unlikely to be inflicted with a sequel.