There's Something About Mary

1998, Movie, R, 120 mins


A romantic gross-out comedy: What a concept! Ted (Ben Stiller) and high-school hottie Mary (Cameron Diaz) once went on a bad prom date of epic proportions. While using Mary's bathroom, Ted inadvertently got a glimpse of the undressed beauty and was so flustered he zipped his privates up in his zipper: Ted was carted off in an ambulance after having been humiliated in front of Mary, her parents and half the neighborhood. Twenty years later, he wonders what might have been and hires seedy PI Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) to find Mary, who moved to Florida after graduation. Mary turns out to be a paragon: A successful orthopedic surgeon and willowy beauty with a mouth like a dolphin, a sports fan and avid golfer, a devoted sister who cares for her retarded brother (W. Earl Brown), loves corn dogs ("there aren't enough meats on sticks," she declares), has a killer sense of humor and spends her days committing random acts of kindness. Smitten, Healy discourages Ted by reporting that Mary's a fat slag in a wheelchair and hightails it to Florida, planning to use the tricks of the surveillance trade to win her for himself. Fairly standard romantic comedy hijinks, right? But we're talking about a movie by the Farrelly brothers, of DUMB & DUMBER and KINGPIN infamy, so be warned that the lovey-dovey comedy of errors is liberally studded with gags about serial murder, semen, the physically and mentally challenged, hives, fellatio and masturbation. The laughs are low -- very low -- and the comedy often flags. But two elaborate sequences involving a bad-tempered little ankle-biter are standouts, as is the zipper calamity. And the scene in which a bodily fluid is mistaken for a hair-care product will be the movie's calling card. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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