Serving Sara

Joe (Matthew Perry) gets turned away from a club door even though he’s in a tux. He breaks into a window, slides down an elevator shaft, through the trap door on top, and says to the other mystified occupant, “My name is Bond.” Then he hesitates, realizing the cliché: “… Barry Bond.”

He’s a process server and after he serves papers to Fat Charlie, he’s headed to Texas to serve Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley) divorce papers, which he does. Mission accomplished, until Moore cooks up a more lucrative scheme for both herself and Joe, and they set out in search of her Twinkie-two-timing cowboy husband (Bruce Campbell).

Serving Sara doesn’t serve the very likable talents of Elizabeth Hurley and Matthew Perry who have at least a couple of chemical moments. Even after a pathetic, buxom, beat-’em-up showdown in an exercise club, hope still clings to your sleeve, whispering in your ear, “The film could still redeem itself.” But when Mr. Moore’s big, mean cowboy lackey tortures a tied-up dude and commands, “Listen punk, you’re not going anywhere til we find out who took the stapler,” — ouch!

Director Reginald Hudlin (The Ladies’ Man, and writer-director of House Party) should be held accountable for executing attempts at humor that buzz around your head for a laugh, but only end up bugging you, and eliciting a milquetoast performance from Campbell. But the real criminals are writers David Ronn and Jay Scherick, who should have been content with episodes of “Spin City” and “Mr. Rhodes” instead of polluting the silver screen with lines like “You screwed up, dickweed.”

If it’s not too late — and, seriously, I hope it’s not — Hurley and Perry better clinch some more substantial roles quick, maybe even straight dramatics, because they’re both capable. When it comes to Serving Sara, you’ll wonder why none of their close friends stopped them from thinning their abilities along one drawn-out, painful chase, with a few slugs, love smacks and prostate jokes.

Anita Schmaltz writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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