"THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Cameron Diaz as MARY
Matt Dillon as HEALY
Ben Stiller as TED
Lee Evans as TUCKER
Chris Elliott as DOM
Lin Shaye as MAGDA
Jeffrey Tambor as SULLY
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: The Farrelly Brothers
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Ever since high school, Ted (Ben Stiller) has been crushing on Mary (Cameron Diaz), the girl he almost took to prom. Years later as an adult, Ted tries to look Mary up by sending a smarmy private investigator named Pat Healy (Matt Dillon). However, Healy falls in love with Mary and manipulates her into a relationship. When Ted tries to catch up with Mary later, he finds himself in the middle of a stalking nightmare.
WHAT I LIKED
The Farrelly Brothers came on strong in the movie scene with films like “Dumb and Dumber,” which I still consider to be one of Jim Carrey’s funniest movies. Since their heyday in the late 90s, the Farrelly Brothers have dimmed considerably, but not until after they made “There’s Something About Mary,” arguably the pinnacle of their success.
Were the film made today with the same cast, it would be a disaster. The actors are way too successful now, but the timing of this film allowed Diaz and Stiller, who were relatively untested as A-list above-the-line stars, to shine. Likewise, Matt Dillon was coming out of a career slump, and this film showed that he had the chops (both literally and figuratively) to handle comedy.
Like most films that have been in the public consciousness for ten years or more, “There’s Something About Mary” seems a little more tame than it was in 1998. However, that doesn’t mean the classic scenes involving zippers and mistaken “hair gel” any less funny. Even if you’ve seen this one before, it’s worth a second nostalgic look at what raunchy comedies were before Judd Apatow came on the scene.
What really worked – and still does – with this film is that the movie managed to walk a line between raunchy, gross-out comedy and a romantic comedy. There was enough ribald humor for guys, and the ladies in the audience could get into the relatively sweet love story.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Most of the problems I had watching “There’s Something About Mary” recently comes from my modern eye. I’ve seen enough Ben Stiller movies in the past ten years to get a bit annoyed with his recurring schtick. Same goes for Cameron Diaz. And some of the jokes don’t hit as hard as they did originally because I knew what was coming.
“There’s Something About Mary” also fell into a trap I’ve seen a lot lately, with films like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” – the female lead is a non-pornographic male’s fantasy. At one point in the movie, Mary says, “I want a guy who can play 36 holes of golf, and still have enough energy to take Warren and me to a baseball game, and eat sausages, and beer, not lite beer, but beer.” I’m sure those kind of ladies exist, but I’d bet big money that they don’t look like Cameron Diaz.
The Blu-ray release of “There’s Something About Mary” pulls its features from an earlier collector’s edition DVD release, offering oodles of bonus material. Both the theatrical cut and the extended cut is available, which I have not before seen on DVD in this smooth of a cut.
The Farrelly Brothers lend their voices to a commentary track, which also branches into scene-specific comedy for the extended edition of the film. Writers Ed Decter and John J. Strauss also perform a commentary track. Also along the commentary lines, the directors talk over an abandoned clay animated title sequence.
There’s a slew of featurettes, including the retrospective “AMC Backstory” which examines the movie’s success and “Around the World with Mary” which dubs a variety of languages into the ending scene.
Featurettes for the Blu-ray include “Getting Behind Mary,” “Comedy Central Reel Comedy,” “Up a Tree with Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins” (the musicians strung throughout the film), “Franks & Beans: A conversation with W. Earl Brown” (the actor who pays Warren, giving insight into playing an iconic character and not actually being mentally retarded), “Exposing Themselves: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Chris Elliot,” “Touchdown: A Conversation with Brett Favre,” “Interview Roulette with Harland Williams” (the funniest bit yet with the comic best known for creating “Seven Minute Abs”), “Puffy, B**** and B****” and “Behind the Zipper.”
Additional features include a music video, “Build Me Up Buttercup” karaoke and outtakes.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of Ben Stiller or the Farrelly Brothers, and anyone who might want to take up stalking as a hobby.