There's Something About Mary
Rating -

Comedy (US); 1998; Rated R; 119 Minutes

Cameron Diaz: Mary Jensen Matthews
Matt Dillon: Pat Healy
Ben Stiller: Ted Stroehmann
Lee Evans: Tucker
Chris Elliot: Dom
Lin Shaye: Magda
W. Earl Brown: Warren Jensen

Produced by Frank Beddor, Mark Charpentier, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Marc S. Fischer, Patrick Healy, James B. Rogers, Michael Steinberg, Bradley Thomas and Charles B. Wessler; Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly; Screenwritten by Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly

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Written by DAVID KEYES

Now here's something interesting. The creators of "Dumb And Dumber" and Kingpin" have returned to the big screen presenting "There's Something About Mary," the third comedy of their never-ending series of repugnant slapstick films. Their first two entries were among the most disturbingly dumb films ever created. A difference that exists now is "There's Something About Mary" is even more disgusting and putrid, and strangely enough, so funny that it tones itself to a whole new level of comedy--one that exceeds its expectations and ranks among the funniest of the decade.

There is hardly a moment in the picture that is not laughable. If it's because of a sick joke, an accidental mishap, or something other, one thing always is certain: this stuff, as it turns out, is very funny, mainly due to the fact that they are written into situations that best suit them.

The movie is about Ted Stroehmann, who, in high school, fell in love with Mary Jensen Matthews, the girl he adored from a far. She was a beautiful catch, and he was a metal-mouthed nerd (forgive me if I seem too harsh on my choice of words). But nonetheless, she liked him, and during their Senior high school year, while walking home together, she asked him out to the prom. He accepted, and showed up to her house in the most sadistically rotten brown suit I have ever seen, which did not go so well with her light blue dress.

Before even getting out of the house, Ted excused himself and went to the bathroom to take care of business. As he's standing over the toilet, he looks out to two birds on a limb who, once they fly away, reveal Mary up in her room getting dressed. She sees him, and is humiliated. But it wasn't his fault--after all, he was just peeing. He then zips his pants, but accidentally gets a rather precious piece of anatomy caught in the zipper.

This isn't the type of humor I necessarily enjoy, but then the situation gets outrageously complicated, to where half a dozen people are looking in on Ted, who is standing in the corner of the bathroom trying to get his zipper back down. Mary's stepfather, in one preceding scene, tries to shed some light on his situation by asking him if it's the "frank or beans" that are caught in the zipper. Then the situation gets even worse, and he's taken to the hospital, never to see Mary again.

Okay, so that's just mildly funny, but it gets funnier. Years later, when Ted has grown out of his dorky phase, he hires a perverted private investigator named Pat Healy, who, when he finds Mary located in Florida, tells Ted she is a fat woman in a wheel chair in hopes that he can have a chance with her.

But even Healy has problems. Claiming to be an architect, he woos Mary to believe they have several things in common, and he is a man who has everything she has ever wanted. On one of their dates, Healy meets one of Mary's closest friends, a man named Norman, who has a spinal injury and is on crutches. Norman himself is an architect, and when Healy fails to convince Tucker he is one as well, he does a little research on him, concluding that he is no architect.

When he confronts Mary with this, he also tells her that Healy is also a murderer wanted in several states. Later on, when Healy confronts Norman with these false accusations (yes, they are false), we in the audience learn that Norm is no crippled architect. He is actually a pizza delivery boy, who wants Mary just as much as Healy does.

But then Ted learns of Pat's plan to keep Mary away from him, and takes off to Florida with his best friend, Dom, in search for her. He charms her like no other man, and she entices him like no other woman. They are perfect together, but that's no matter when we then learn that Dom, Ted's best friend, was actually Mary's old high school boyfriend, and he, too, has been in search of her. Mary herself moved to Florida to get away from him, since he was obsessed with stealing her shoes(!).

Here we have four men chasing after this woman, all of who at first glance seem to be normal men in lust for this attractive woman. But to describe them completely would be like describing all of the character's personalities in Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Each person is truly unique to their behavior, and you have to see the movie to actually get the total picture.

The movie's whole plot is even more complicated. There are several story twists and subplots, all containing some sort of grotesque-type joke, most of which are related to masturbation and similar things. Dom's character, for example, tells Ted on his date to Mary that you have to 'empty the pipes' to really woo a woman like Mary.

This picture is a real miracle; it comes around at a time when summer seems to fade with over-toned blockbusters and poorly concepted spoof comedies. Now, at last, we don't have to be reminded of 1998 with a bad movie like "Armageddon." At last, we can look back and cheerfully remember the Farrelly brothers' third comedy, which is ultimately their best.

1998, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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