Serving Sara

The dog days of summer have arrived, which means that movie studios will now take the time to dump all their stinkers onto an unsuspecting public. Nothing says stinker more than a comedy with a member of the Friends cast. With some recent exceptions, it is usually a given that a movie from a Friends cast member (particularly a male cast member) is bad. Serving Sara fits the stereotype. It is another tired entry in the gross-out romantic comedy genre; a dull movie that relies on toilet humor to generate laughs. This time around it's Matthew Perry (The Whole Nine Yards, Disney's The Kid) in the dunce cap, playing a character not wholly unlike his popular Chandler persona on Friends. This is actually a step backwards for Perry, who, out of the Friends men probably has had (so far) the best luck in choosing roles.

Perry is Joe Tyler, a process server who is in need of work. All his jobs seem to take much longer for him than they do for Tony (Vincent Pastore, Deuce's Wild, Riding in Cars with Boys), his rival co-worker. His latest job is to serve divorce papers to Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley, Bedazzled, The Weight of Water), the trophy wife of Texas millionaire Gordon Moore (Bruce Campbell, Spider-Man, The Majestic). The divorce is a complete surprise to Sara, who makes Joe an offer of her own. If he will serve Gordon with divorce papers first, she will give him one million dollars. Naturally, Joe agrees and the two are off to Texas to look for Gordon, who quickly becomes aware of their plans. In this case, the advantage in court (monetarily) will go to the person who serves the divorce papers, so Gordon is doing everything he can to avoid Joe and Sara, and Joe and Sara are trying their darndest to get proof they served Gordon. Meanwhile, Gordon hires Tony to try to serve Sara papers, so a three-way chase is ensuing. By the way, Tony is big and stupid. If that's funny, there are plenty of other familiar stereotypes for amusement in Serving Sara.

It's always fascinating watching comedies that aren't funny. Is this some sort of bizarre experiment on the audience? Probably not. What the heck are Perry and Hurley thinking? They are making fools of themselves on camera for nothing. Director Reginald Hudlin (The Ladies Man, The Great White Hype) and writers Jay Scherick and David Ronn make a script so formulaic that even the grossest of the jokes are ones seen in other films (and not funny then either). Masturbating a farm animal was not funny in Freddy Got Fingered. Pointless chases around the streets of New York are neither funny nor exciting. There is very little story in the first place, so they write a bunch of contrived sequences to serve as filler. Of course a romance blossoms between Joe and Sara, but only because the writers want it to (and of course because the two cannot stand each other at the beginning of the film). Perry and Hurley have little chemistry together, and their faux arguing is tiresome more than anything else. There is also no reason to root for Joe. Hudlin provides some sob story about what he used to be, but that doesn't explain why he is a process server in the first place. Sure, he's sarcastic and self-deprecating, but that is nowhere near enough for anybody to want to listen to him for the length of the film.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual content, and language.

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