The Sweetest Thing (2002)

The Sweetest Thing
Director: Roger Kumble
Writer: Nancy M. Pimental
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane, Jason Bateman, Frank Grillo, Eddie McClintock, Parker Posey
Seen on: 7.1.2023

Content Note: misogyny

Christina (Cameron Diaz) likes to party and she and her best friend Courtney (Christina Applegate) have flirting down to an art. Unlike their friend Jane (Selma Blair), they aren’t particularly interested in settling down. Especially not Christina. So when she meets Peter (Thomas Jane), she can’t understand why she can’t get him out of her head anymore. She knows that Peter will attend a wedding that weekend, so maybe, with no other way to contact him, she should just crash that?

The Sweetest Thing left me with one overwhelming take-away: the noughties really were not kind to RomComs in general and women in them in particular. One cringeworthy moment chases the next here, and leaves a very stale taste after you’re done with it.

The film poster showing Christina (Cameron Diaz) holding a red book the size of her upper body with the words True Love on them.

I am sure when this film was made, they thought they were being progressive since the protagonists are women who have no problem using their sex appeal to get what they want, and what they want is to have fun. It’s the kind of liberated woman that is at the same time the wet dream of men, adhering to all beauty standards and ultimately falling for one anyway, ready to live the heteronormative dream. Jane, the one of the three who doesn’t just fuck whoever she feels like (maybe) is ridiculed for it and doesn’t quite get into the inner friendship circle here.

It’s basically Girl Boss Romance, only they’re not girl bossing their professional lives but their sexual ones. And so the film gives us all kinds of sex jokes, including one with a glory hole that had me cringing so hard, I thought I would cringe out of my own skin. I don’t mind explicit humor and I’m far from a prude, but I would like those jokes to a) make sense and b) be funny.

Christina (Cameron Diaz), Jane (Selma Blair) and Courtney (Christina Applegate) out partying.

What it really boils down to is that the film continuously humiliates its female protagonists, for the sake of what I’m not exactly sure. Be it Jane getting stuck while giving a blow job or all three of them breaking out into a “spontaneous” song and dance at a Chinese restaurant on the beauty of dicks or Courtney letting an entire bathroom of women feel her breasts like she was a prized cow. And Christina’s realization of her feelings leads to her getting embarrassed, as if she needed to be knocked down a peg or three before she would be ready to date a guy (or the guy would be ready to date her).

The film is lucky to have Diaz, Blair and Applegate who give it their all and almost get somewhere with their apparent enthusiasm. But it really didn’t deserve them and they didn’t deserve it. It’s probably best if we, collectively, let this one rot in a drawer somewhere, forgotten forever.

Peter (Thomas Jane) and Christina (Cameron Diaz) facing off, with Jane (Selma Blair) looking admiringly at Christina.

Summarizing: no. Hell no.

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