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[whitespace] 'Serving Sara'
Flight Risk: Elizabeth Hurley and Matthew Perry take a flight into infamy in 'Serving Sara.'

To Serve and Suffer

Why you'd rather watch paint dry than go to 'Serving Sara'

By Richard von Busack

TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE assured me that Serving Sara was the worst movie in history, and naturally I had to see the worst movie in history, if only for history's sake. Augmenting hopes for a real atrocity was the fact that the screening took place in a vacant auditorium in a 24-plex. Imagine the nostalgia factor, hearing those terrible gags echoing off the walls, just as I'd heard so many failed jokes bouncing around in limbo inside those huge, derelict movie theaters of my youth, where the film fans were outnumbered by the rats, 7 to 1.

So far, so bad. And the way Elizabeth Hurley gets her pants ripped off by some baggage-handling machinery is so very much like the pea-brained Natalie Wood sex farces of yore. And Hurley's spunky-but-clunky delivery was so reminiscent of the days when Blake Edwards was trying to make a naughty girl out of his wife, Julie Andrews. Finally, there's the antiquity of the plotting--dizzy rich wench and stubble-faced prole going on the road together until they become girlfriend and boyfriend. Hey, it's just like It Happened One Night! Only, with that guy who's on the TV show with Jennifer Anacin.

So, was it really that bad? Unfortunately, no. Reginald Hudlin's direction is dispirited; Matthew Perry's many spit takes are an insult to the noble institution of the spit take; Jerry Stiller turns up to make a joke about his prostrate gland; and with the lines he has here, a certain comedian might as well have been called Cedric the Undertaker. Serving Sara turns out to be only a garden-variety stinker--a mere kink in the drainpipe, not the bottom of the septic tank.

Serving Sara (PG-13; 100 min.), directed by Reginald Hudlin, written by Jay Scherick and David Ronn, photographed by Robert Brinkmann and starring Elizabeth Hurley and Matthew Perry, plays at selected loser theaters valleywide.

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From the August 29-September 4, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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