Serving Sara

What is the story with the cast of Friends? They just cannot seem to make the translation from TV to big screen well. Serving Sara is not going to do any good for Mathew Perry's film career as not only is it excruciatingly painful but is dragged to even lower depth by the acting talents (and that word is used in its loosest form) of Elizabeth Hurley.

The basic premise is Matthew Perry is Joe Tyler, a subpoena server whose not the best at his profession (not by a long shot) and dreams of making enough money to own his own vineyard. His boss, Ray (Cedric The Entertainer) gives him what appears to be a cushy number hoping to break his losing streak; serve divorce papers to a Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley).

Unfortunately, Sara is tipped off by Tony (Vincent Pastore) who is one of Joe's co-workers and who it turns out has been responsible for Joe's losing streak. Tony has been tipping off Joe's would-be subpoena victims and then serving them himself later to earn the commission. Sara, having been forewarned about her impending divorce, decides to take action herself and convinces Joe that if he serves her husband Gordon (Bruce Campbell) first, she will pay Joe $1 Million. By serving her husband in Texas, she then takes advantage of the cushy Texas divorce laws which would earn her $10 Million.

Thus the race against the clock is one, Joe must serve Gordon before the deadline to receive his payment. Sara decides that she'll come along and with Tony pursuing the pursuers the race is definitely on. Unfortunately Gordon realises what's going on and goes on the run too. So the end result is, Joe and Sara are chasing Gordon, who in turn are being chased by Tony and Gordon's bodyguards.

The performances suck. They are amongst the worst even for the low standards of Elizabeth Hurley. Matthew Perry tries to break his Chandler image and unfortunately it would take much more than hair gel and a black leather jacket. He tries a tough-talking persona but with little success as Chandler keeps popping up whenever there is a need for a laugh (which fails most of the time). Perry is a victim of his own success - no one will buy him as any other character other than Chandler, and unless he takes a risk and does something completely different he will be stuck with his Friends persona forever. Going back to Elizabeth Hurley; she just cannot tell a joke or be funny to save her soul from Beelzebub himself. In fact, lets not limit her to just being funny, she is completely useless in any acting department.

The really worrying thing about Serving Sara is that is directed by Reginald Hudlin, who was one of the freshest and hippest directors when he burst into directing in 1990 with House Party. Even Boomerang, his follow up film, was good but since then he's been on a slow sliding downward spiral and after this he really needs to re-evaluate his career.

The film is just a mash of crap jokes and unimaginative humour. Hudlin and the two scriptwriters (Jay Scherick and David Ronn - in case anyone wanted their names to find out where they live and then to hunt them down and kill them slowly) seem to think that low-brow humour is all you need to make a successful comedy. For example, having Hurley dress up in short skirts and skimpy tops, with Trailer Trash written all over it will make us laugh (geddit? posh bird dressed as trailer trash? funny no?) or having Joe massage a bull's prostrate to get him to mount an artificial cow. It just isn't funny.

Serving Sara is a classic example of what every romantic comedy needs - romance and comedy. Its just that somewhere along the line it forgot these two premises along the way.

Score 2/10