None of the men at the screening I attended liked this movie. Some of them even came out of the theater looking a little shell-shocked. But many of the women walked out smiling.
This movie’s audience may break down along gender lines, but believe me, this isn’t your mother’s chick flick. That is, unless your mother is an Adam Sandler fan, because what this is is an Adam Sandler movie from the girl’s point of view.
Written by Nancy Pimental (of “South Park” and “Win Ben Stein’s Money”), this is a cheerfully obscene tribute to girlfriends and of course to true love.
Cameron Diaz is Christina, an advertising executive and full-time heartbreaker and party girl. She lives with gal pals divorce lawyer Courtney (Christina Applegate deglamorized into sidekick mode) and salesgirl Jane (Selma Blair). They aren’t waiting for Mr. Right. They are perfectly happy with Mr. Right Now. At least that’s what they tell themselves. But what they do, just like male characters in many, many movies of the past, is put up barriers to genuine intimacy in their romantic relationships, keeping genuine closeness for each other. Christina enjoys using the power of her beauty and freshness (in both senses of the word) to control men so that she can have the fun of dropping them quickly to run back and share the dish.
Then Christina meets Peter at a disco. He piques her interest by not being dazzled by her and by sizing her up right away. He mentions that he is going to a wedding the next day. So, when she can’t put him out of her mind, she and Courtney decide to track him down anc crash the wedding. They’re off on a road trip.
All of this is just a thin excuse for a series of extremely raunchy and explicit jokes and situations, any of which would have earned an immediate NC-17 rating if this hadn’t been a comedy and, more important, if not for the indestructible sweetness of Cameron Diaz, who acts as something between Teflon and a disinfectant.
The three leads are so bright and even endearing that somehow the fact that they behave like complete skanks does not compute. Their loyalty and high spirits and the fact that no one is taking this movie very seriously (they announce that there will be a clothes-trying on montage and then appear as Julia Roberts, Madonna, and Olivia Newton-John) make this a guilty almost-pleasure.
Parents should know that this movie has some of the most explicit sexual references and situations ever included in a mainstream film. There are extensive and graphic jokes about oral sex (including a humiliating visit to the dry cleaner and a medical emergency involving a very personal piercing). Parents should exercise the strongest caution in exposing kids or teens to the language and behavior in this movie.
Families who see this movie should talk about why Christina was afraid to get close to a man and why she was so concerned about having the power in her relationships. They should also talk about the way the friends showed loyalty and unconditional acceptance to each other.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “American Pie” and “There’s Something About Mary.”