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There's Something about Mary

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: There's Something about Mary

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller
Director: Peter Farrelly
Rated: R
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: July 1998
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Matt Dillon, Lee Evans, Lin Shaye, Chris Elliott, Jeffrey Tambor, W. Earl Brown, Markie Post, Keith David, Steve Zuckerman

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1.  MrBrown review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Walter Frith read the review movie reviewvideo review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by MrBrown
3½ stars out of 4

There's something about the Farrelly brothers: in this age of political correctness, the writing/directing duo of Bobby and Peter is not afraid to throw caution and, above all else, good taste to the wind in pursuit of a good laugh. While their go-for-broke style certainly offends as many, if not more, people than it entertains, anyone who can tap into their truly sick and twisted wavelength will find a mother lode of laughs in their latest effort, the often disgusting, constantly shocking, but always hilarious _There's_Something_About_Mary_.

If the Farrellys pushed the envelope of decency with their previous lowbrow outings, the PG-13 rated _Dumb_and_Dumber_ and _Kingpin_, then they tear it to shreds in the R-rated _Mary_. The film's poster features a rather innocent, almost ironic-sounding disclaimer ("Warning: the guys who did _Dumb_and_Dumber_ and _Kingpin_ bring you a love story"), but it is a warning worth heeding. Plotwise, _Mary_ does fits the bill of a traditional romantic comedy. Thirteen years after graduation, Rhode Island-based loser Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller), still pines for his glamorous high school love, Mary Jenson (Cameron Diaz), with whom he was supposed to go to the senior prom; needless to say, things did not quite work out. Determined to have another chance at her, Ted hires sleazy insurance claims investigator Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) to track her down in her new home city of Miami--and that he does, only to pursue Mary, now an improbably glam orthopedic surgeon, for himself.

Sounds like typical romantic fluff, but it is far from it. Remember that warning? While the plot covers bases seen in other, tamer romantic comedies, the brand of humor that is explored along the way is of the lowest brow. If the diarrhea and bull semen gags in _Dumb_ and _Kingpin_, respectively, can be considered "toilet humor," than what the Farrellys delve into in _Mary_ is the waste product itself; "gross-out" humor seems too mild a term. A number of bodily functions (exactly which and how, I will leave as a surprise) provide the basis of some big laughs, as do gags involving drugged dogs, gay sex, and, yes, the physically and mentally challenged. If this sounds offensive to you, it is. But its that giddy, vulgar sense of abandon, doing unspeakable things just extreme enough that it cannot be taken seriously, that makes the brothers such a unique voice in comedy. And one of the most refreshing.

As with all comedies, some gags clank. A Greek chorus-like singer (Jonathan Richman), who, along with an accompanying drummer, appears sporadically to comment on the action, grows old after the first two "spontaneous" appearances (though he is given a satisfying sendoff); and a sight gag revolving around Ted's best friend Dom's (Chris Elliott) sensitive skin condition is not so much funny as just unpleasant to look at. But the Farrellys' hit-to-miss ratio is well over .500, rebounding from duds with some unbelievable showstoppers (such as an outrageous sight gag that will make all men cringe and cross their legs) and an able cast that must be commended for, above all else, their incredible bravery to do some of the things they are called on to do.

It is hard to predict what exactly will be the box office fate of _There's_Something_About_Mary_; for each person that "gets" the Farrelly brothers' demented sense of humor, there is sure to be at least two that are completely, totally disgusted. But for me and the others on their warped vibe, _Mary_ is bad, dirty fun.

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