Sometimes a perfectly silly movie, one hated by most other critics, makes me laugh so much I disturb other people in the theater while watching it. Serving Sara is that kind of film. The pairing of Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley, as a down-on-his-luck process server and the woman he’s supposed to serve with divorce papers, amused me throughout this road-trip romp. And I found Cedric the Entertainer absolutely hilarious as Perry’s frustrated boss.
Because I’ve supervised various types of employees in a number of jobs, I had no trouble empathizing with Cedric's (Kingdom Come) character, especially in scenes showing his reactions to workers bent on sabotaging each other’s assignments. This poor man tries everything he can think of to soothe his nerves – gazing at little stones surrounding a mini-waterfall, raking a tiny sand-garden, hitting a punching bag, and telephoning a psychic. One of the film’s funniest bits involves Cedric explaining to a client about why papers haven’t been served by an important deadline. His convoluted reasoning cracked me up, which caused some members of the audience to send warning "Shhs" my way. (The same thing happened to me in Cabin Boy a few years ago.)
Witty one-liners delivered sardonically by Perry (best known as Chandler in t.v.’s Friends) also tickled me. He calls his rival "Retardo Montalban," encourages a thug to "eat something" because he doesn’t fit in with his hefty gangster friends, and declares "I’ve got the gist of it," after flipping through a hotel Bible for about two seconds. Dunno why, but Perry always surprises me with his movie performances. An actor with only minimal big screen charisma, he still manages to be entertaining in films – witness his humorous work in The Whole Nine Yards. His scruffy look in Serving Sara suits him well. It lends a touch of vulnerability to a character out for revenge against his back-stabbing co-worker (Vincent Pastore).
Hurley (Bedazzled) looks gorgeous, as always. She seems to be having fun with the role of a wife who recruits a process server to help her get even with her wealthy husband (Bruce Campbell). However, some of Hurley’s mismatched fashion choices appear outrageous. Still, maybe that’s part of the reason I thought she was so funny – along with her priceless expression of amazement while caught in an airport’s revolving luggage belt.
Although Serving Sara contains crude humor I could have done without, it’s not pervasive in this comedy. We certainly didn’t need the "pretend veterinarian" sequence with Perry putting his arm up a bull’s behind – the only unfunny part of this movie to me. But, hey, that’s the part of the flick most members of the audience WERE laughing at. I wanted to do some "shushing" myself then.
(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated "PG-13" for crude humor, sexual content, and language.)