Thursday, August 22, 2002

Movie: Serving Sara

Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2002 at 4:00 AM

*
Our Rating: 1.00

An extended set piece involving Matthew Perry, an impotent bull, an artificial cow and a long rubber glove typifies the desperation of "Serving Sara," a would-be romantic comedy that pairs the TV Friend with gorgeous Brit Elizabeth Hurley. The second misfire in a row from filmmaker Reginald Hudlin ("The Ladies Man"), it's a glorified sitcom, and a long, unfunny one at that.

In a script by Jay Scherick and David Ronn ("Spin City," "Mr. Rhodes"), process server Joe Tyler (Perry) is assigned to serve divorce papers to Sara Moore (Hurley), the wife of a wealthy Texas cattleman. Tyler fails in his mission, and the job is handed over to his arch rival, Tony (Vincent Pastore of "The Sopranos"). Several plot mutations later, Joe and Sara scheme to turn the tables on her husband by serving him first. That will put the wronged wife in the position of having the divorce proceedings take place in New York, where she'll supposedly stand a greater chance of getting a fair shake financially.

One early sequence, in which Tyler slides down an elevator shaft and sneaks into a private party to hand a court order to a mobster, is both jaunty and bouncy. But the remainder of the story is little more than a string of strained comic situations, with Perry doing a variation on the hapless, befuddled character he plays on Must-See TV. Hear Chandler put on a British accent! A Spanish accent! See Chandler run from a monster truck!

Hurley, despite possessing plenty of sex appeal and charisma, doesn't have a much better time of it in her underwritten role. And she has zero romantic chemistry with Perry. They go together like crumpets and Bud.

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