Comical Payback Game
Release Date: August 23, 2002
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for crude humor, sexual
content and language
Runtime: 92 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Executive Producer: Dan Kolsrud and David Scheer
Producer: Dan Halsted
Writer: Jay Scherick and David Ronn
Address Comments To:
Sherry Lansing, Chairman
Motion Picture Group
A Paramount Communications Company
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
(PaPa, PCPC, Acap, Ab, LLL, V, S, A, D, MM) Heathen worldview with every man out for himself, scratching and clawing and usurping others to reach his greedy goals with politically-correct elements poke fun at Texans with their cowboy/playboy mentalities, their electric chairs, their love for sports such as Monster Truck Shows, and their love of guns; one reference to the Bible happens in a hotel room, where man pretends to read it when he really wants to sleep with woman; intense foul language with 52 obscenities and 13 profanities; action violence including man being beaten by thugs, another run over by Monster Trucks, and comical torture scene of office worker accused of stealing stapler; allusions to sex and implication that only adulterous sex is satisfying; depictions of alcohol and smoking; and, lying, stealing, cheating, greed, and betrayal.
Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley star in SERVING SARA, where a process server gets bribed to help a woman beat the clock on serving her husband divorce papers. Depicting shaky relational foundations and spouting plenty of foul language, this movie delivers some laughs amid its shallow characters, but leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.
SERVING SARA begins with Joe Tyler (Matthew Perry) worming his way into a sleazy nightclub and accusing the card dealer of cheating. His rantings draw mobster “Fat Charlie” out from the back room, where Joe serves him with court papers and quickly flees.
Joe is a process server who works in a nasty office under the supervision of the intense Ray (Cedric the Entertainer) and alongside the mean and ugly Tony (Vincent Pastore). Joe and Tony love to belittle each other and steal each other’s assignments, and Ray encourages their behavior.
Joe gets assigned a job to deliver divorce papers to a woman in Texas named Sara Moore, whose wealthy, cheating husband wants to be rid of her. When Joe finally reaches Sara (played by Elizabeth Hurley), he tells her it would have been much better if she had served her husband the papers in New York, where the laws would have allowed her to get twice the settlement money from her husband. Sara likes that idea and offers Joe one million dollars if he pretends he didn’t serve her the papers, and instead, serves the husband first. Joe agrees, and they begin a precarious and hilarious journey to find her husband, Gordon, played by Bruce Campbell.
Joe and Sara’s adventures take them to health spas, where strong Texas gals practically beat Joe up, to airport luggage conveyors, where they steal funny clothes, to sleazy hotels, to Texas mansions, and to a ranch – where Joe poses as a veterinarian and must alleviate a bull’s prostate issues . . . Eew!
Finally, they end up at a monster truck show, where everyone in the audience carries a gun – even the grannies and nursing mothers! Throughout this wild chase, a relationship begins to bud between Joe and Sara. Their combined wounds and greed seem to be the catalyst for some romantic sparks.
SERVING SARA has some mindless laughs, but much of the humor is mean-spirited. Its characters are not memorable, nor is its story emotionally involving or challenging. Along with SLAP HER, SHE’S FRENCH, this politically-correct movie pokes fun at Texas and all its ways. The movie shows Texans with their cowboy/playboy mentalities, their electric chairs, their love for sports such as Monster Truck Shows, and their love of guns. Perhaps the liberal moviemakers are jabbing at our president, but the gags are very funny, for the most part.
SERVING SARA, however, will leave Christian viewers sad, because Joe and Sara’s relationship is based on wounds, greed, revenge, and lust, poor foundations for a lasting tie. In fact, the protagonist says that only in affairs can anyone find real passion. And, what good would all those millions be, if there were no lasting relationship? At one point, also, Joe pretends to read the hotel Bible, while actually he wants to climb into bed with Sara.
So, if viewers want to wade through an atrocious amount of foul language and a selfish, greedy worldview, they may get some good laughs, but they might end up sad and disgusted at the end. As believers, we understand that we are made for relationship – with God and man, that riches come and go in this life, and that winning through lies and betrayal never truly pays off.
Matthew Perry stars in SERVING SARA as Joe Tyler, who must deliver divorce papers to a woman in Texas, whose cheating husband wants to be rid of her. When he reaches Sara Moore, who’s played by Elizabeth Hurley, he tells her that it would have been better if she had served her wealthy husband the papers in New York, where she could get twice the settlement money. Sara offers Joe one million dollars if he pretends he didn’t serve her the papers, and instead, serves the husband first. Joe agrees, and they begin a wild, precarious journey to find the husband. Throughout this wild chase, a relationship begins to bud between Joe and Sara. Their combined wounds and greed seem to be the catalyst for some romantic sparks.
SERVING SARA has some mindless laughs, but much of the humor is mean-spirited. As such, the humor takes some politically-correct jabs at Texans by poking fun at capital punishment, gun ownership, reading the Bible, and monster truck rallies. Furthermore, the relationship between the romantic leads is on shaky moral ground, and the foul language is rampant. All of this leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth