Serving Sara

Release Date: August 23, 2002
Pushed back one week from August 16, 2002

What, you were expecting to see a picture of Liz and Matt here?  Yeah, right.

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Take one part Estée Lauder model, add a Vicodin-addicted Friend, toss in a Big Pussy, and top it all off with simply the best B-movie actor ever, and you have all the ingredients for a dark little comedy called Serving Sara. Directed by Reginald Hudlin (House Party, Boomerang), this film appears on the surface to be a romantic comedy, but in all likelihood will bear more similarities to movies such as Midnight Run and The Mexican.

Matthew Perry will again attempt to translate his television popularity to the big screen as he plays what can only be described as a Chandler Bing-esque character named Joe Tyler, a wisecracking and cynical former attorney-turned-process server. His coworker, Tony (Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos) has employed a number of dirty tricks to beat Joe to the punch in serving a number of different "clients". Joe's job is on the line, and he decides to cheat Tony out of a huge assignment: serving divorce papers to Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley), a millionaire businesswoman who lives in New York. Sara had apparently run a very successful Texas cattle ranch with her husband, Gordon (Bruce Campbell), up until the point when he dumped her for another woman and set out to cheat her out of her business.

Here's where things get complicated. Since Texas has extremely conservative divorce laws, Gordon will get the better end of the deal if he can have papers served on Sara first. Likewise, since Sara resides in New York, the more liberal laws for that state will be in her favor if she can manage to have Gordon served first. Joe and Tony race to see who can be the first to get papers served to Sara, but when Joe meets her, she proposes a deal: Serve papers to Gordon instead, and she'll share a portion of the divorce settlement. From there, Tony continues to chase the couple as they make their way to Texas, and naturally, romantic feelings begin to develop as Joe and Sara spend time together.

Rumors swirled about throughout the production. Filming had to be shut down indefinitely at one point while Perry entered a drug rehabilitation facility. Hurley went through a grueling and headline-grabbing breakup with millionaire Steve Bing during which he claimed that Perry was actually the father of the actress's unborn child, but she has denied these accusations.

Paramount has what looks to be a very marketable comedy on its hands. Perry has had previous big-screen success with The Whole Nine Yards, though in general, most of the members of the cast of Friends have had difficulty when trying to make the jump to the big screen. Hurley is certainly a recognizable face but has yet to be a real factor in a major hit. Bedazzled would be the closest she has come to carrying a major production, and it was somewhat of a disappointment at the box office, particularly relative to budget. The additional presence of Pastore and Campbell looks to be a real boost for Serving Sara's quality, though it probably won't greatly affect the movie's overall numbers. Pastore is fairly well-beloved for his short-lived role as Big Pussy on HBO's critically-acclaimed The Sopranos, and he is a lower-profile but appropriate choice to fill a similar part to the one played by James Gandolfini in The Mexican. Cult-actor Campbell always seems to have a blast when he plays the heel, and he will, of course, be coming off his huge role in Spider-Man (OK, so he only plays a ring announcer) and his participation guarantees my six dollars at the very least.

Serving Sara is currently set for a mid-August release, which may be an indication that the studio is looking to just dump the film. The month hasn't been especially friendly to mid-level comedies, but with the right marketing push, this $20 million-budgeted film does have the potential to surprise. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Serving Sara
Main Cast Matthew Perry, Elizabeth Hurley, Bruce Campbell, Vincent Pastore
Supporting Cast Cedric the Entertainer, David Scott Heck
Director Reginald Hudlin
Screenwriter Jay Scherick, David Ronn
Distributor Paramount
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating PG-13
Running Time 99 minutes
Screen Count 2,174
Also see Stephanie Star Smith reviews the trailer
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Serving Sara
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Mexican, The 3/2/0120.11 21.46 2951 6814.00 6994.9 66.81 71.30 3.32
Whole Nine Yards, The 2/18/0013.73 15.35 2910 4720.00 5079.0 57.26 64.05 3.60
Bedazzled 10/20/0013.11 14.66 2568 5105.00 5493.3 37.84 42.33 2.89
Big Hit, The 4/24/9810.81 13.89 2149 5030.00 6220.5 27.07 34.80 2.50
Nurse Betty 9/8/007.15 7.99 1459 4901.00 5273.8 25.15 28.13 3.52
True Romance 9/10/934.02 5.85 1254 3206.00 4491.5 12.29 17.90 3.06
Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The 8/24/012.46 2.62 903 2723.00 2795.3 7.39 7.88 3.00



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