A year before Old School and three years before The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Wedding Crashes really kicked off the “Bromantic” era, a largely overlooked, poorly reviewed, and underappreciated Lady Bromance flick, The Sweetest Thing came and disappeared without much notice. At the time, I believe, it was thought to be a late-coming female version of a raunchy Farrelly Brothers movie, but I like to think of it more as a fore-running counterpoint to the Seth Rogen dick-joke movies that would dominate in the years thereafter. As a lady bromance, The Sweetest Thing may have been ahead of its time — I don’t think our popular culture was ready for filthy vagina humor — but perhaps, as a result, it’s actually the rare movie that has not only aged well, but that is actually better in 2010, now that some of the backwards world has caught up with the fact that women, too, can engage in profanity-fueled locker-room humor.
It’s still not a particularly great film — it doesn’t have any of the heart that anchors the Apatow films, and the actual story is crap, but there are a lot of brilliant comedic sequences in the movie that hold up remarkably well against the more contemporary homoerotic man love films. I honestly think it’s a movie that could quietly qualify for minor cult film status, if only the people who adored The Sweetest Thing would come out of the closet and admit to it. I’m giving you permission to do so. Don’t be ashamed. It may not be the best movie, folks, but, where lady-raunch is concerned, The Sweetest Thing is just about the only studio creation in existence (save for the miserable, but also well intentioned, Dirty Love).
The plot: Christina (Cameron Diaz), Courtney (Christina Applegate), and Jane (Selma Blair) are best friends dealing with their various dude issues, though the major focus is on Christina and her commitment fears. She meets Peter (Thomas Jane) at a club, where he’s at a bachelor party with his acerbic, objectifying, lascivious, and hilarious brother, Roger (Jason Bateman) (who also does some fun wedding singing later in the film). Christina and Roger hit it off, and a couple of days later, Courtney convinces Christina to drive four hours to the wedding that Peter is supposed to be at, only to learn that it is, in fact, Peter that’s getting married.
The plot is fairly bare bones (like most of its bromantic counterpoints), but it’s largely a vehicle for a lot of smutty lady comedy, which works — at least for me — because it’s not something most dudes are used to exeriencing (or at least those of us married to classy ladies). There are jokes about moldy ass , about vaginal odor, and about old lady dumps. At one point, Cameron Diaz gets inadvertently fucked in the eye when she peeps through a glory hole. In another, Selma Blair gets a pierced dick caught in her mouth, and the all the emergency personnel surrounded her breaking into Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” to help her relax enough to release the dude’s wang from her constricted throat. There’s also furry-fucking, a fun, road trip simulated muff diving scene, and even a musical number about the dangers of overly large penises.
There’s nothing life altering about The Sweetest Thing and maybe it’s even best categorized as a secret shame, but I found it refreshing then, and even now, to be able to watch something other than the usual flatulence-and-cum ribaldry of dude films. I wish The Sweetest Thing had had thicker bones to stick its comedy to, or an actual storyline worth following, but you can’t blame the cast for the film’s weaknesses; they were more than game, especially Applegate and Bateman. The Sweetest Thing is everything that “Sex and the City” is not: It’s lewd and smutty and probably made more than a few guys at the time uncomfortable watching it with their girlfriends. Maybe the world wasn’t ready in 2002 to watch Applegate piss in a urinal or Selma Blair furry-fuck an elephant. But I hope someone tries again soon, because, man I am sick of the same seven recycled dick jokes. The world needs a little more pussy humor in it.