There’s Something About Mary (1998) – DVD Review

There's Something About Mary DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Ed Decter & John J. Strauss
Directed by: Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly
Original Songs & Music by Ben Lee, Jonathan Richman, and Courtney Taylor-Taylor
Starring: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott & W. Earl Brown

Features:

  • Original theatrical version
  • New extended version with fifteen minutes of restored footagee
  • Running audio commentary with the directors Farrelly
  • Running audio commentary with writers Decter & Strauss
  • Alternate Opening (Clay-Animated Title Sequence)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Diary: Getting Behind Mary
  • Cast Interviews: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Chris Elliott
  • AMC Backstory episode
  • “Best Fight” Award Footage (Ben Stiller and Puffy the Dog)
  • Comedy Central’s Reel Comedy episode
  • Featurettes: Behind the Zipper and Puffy, Boobs & Balls
  • Conversations with W. Earl Brown, Brett Favre & Harland Williams
  • “Around the World With Mary”: Foreign Language Clips
  • Gallery: Posters, Trailer & 13 TV Spots
  • “Every Day Should be a Holiday” Music Video
  • “Buttercup” Karaoke Video, Outtakes

Released by: Fox
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Own it.

Ted Stroehmann (Stiller) has a little problem. He’s still in love with his high school crush; a girl named Mary (Diaz). They almost went to the prom together, but there were…umm…medical complications. Anyway, it’s been thirteen years now and he still can’t get her off of his mind. He’s tried therapy and dating other women, but nothing helps. He is convinced by his best friend Dom (Elliott) to try to track her down in Miami using a business acquaintance of his named Pat (Dillon). Pat tracks her down, but he falls in love with her, too. To make matters worse for Ted, the only reason Dom has Pat tracked her down is because he’s still in love with her, too. So, Mary winds up with two guys stalking her while Ted is suffering back at home. Will Ted ever get the girl of his dreams? And how does Tucker (Evans) fit into the whole damn thing?

This is a disgustingly male movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not funny. Perhaps funny is not really the right word for it…I think maybe silly is better. Everything about it is over the top–especially the characters. Mary and Ted seem to be the only characters founded in some kind of a reality, and that’s what makes the movie so odd. These are the only two characters that are “real” while all the others are very much in the fricking stratosphere. The humor is very much situational and very sophomoric, but if you can just accept that then it’s a neat movie to have fun with.

Stiller and Diaz’ characters are very much the same as what they’ve played in their other films. Their style of humor works for the script, though. Dillon is perfect in his role as Pat the masochistic wannabe private detector; he oozes his way through the story and across the screen with uncanny ease. His pencil thin mustache doesn’t hurt anything, either. The real weakness of the film is Elliott. After all, this is the same guy who did Cabin Boy. He seems to work his way through this script with an incredible amount of difficulty. He’s just not funny.

Ben Stiller from There's Something About Mary

Ben Stiller with an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction in There's Something About Mary

As for the DVD features presented–huge. First of all, you get the option to watch either the theatrical version of the film or the extended edition. I like the fact that you have the option to do both. It drives me nuts when they release an extended edition of a movie and you’re stuck with the four-hour version when all you want is the original ninety minutes. You know what I mean. That having been said, the fifteen extra minutes of footage you get here really didn’t add that much to the movie.

On the menu, there are two commentary options. You can watch the movie with the commentary by the Farrelly Brothers, which is pretty good. I mean, they are pretty funny guys and they like to talk about the improvised aspects of the movie, which is good information. They admit that it’s basically the same commentary as they put out on previous releases of the movie, but they added some stuff in to go along with the added content of the movie. The other bit is that you have is to listen to the director’s commentary with a few bonus surprises along the way. Every time a pair of “lovebirds” appear on the screen, you can hit the enter key on your remote control and watch the commentary extras. These extras–there aren’t that many of them, but perhaps the most bizarre one is about a baseball player whose career was lost because he got hit in the eye with a baseball. What does this have to do with the movie, you ask? You’ll have to watch the DVD to find that out.

Cameron Diaz from There's Something About Mary

Cameron Diaz with an unfortunate hairstyle malfunction in There's Something About Mary

So on disc two, we start with “Getting Behind Mary,” the nearly hour-long behind-the-scenes featurette, which is actually really good. It starts out with interviews of the cast and then they move on to shots from behind-the-scenes. This is different because it’s not just shots of the director sitting behind the monitor watching the scene. You get to see them actually working on each take with the actors in the scene, which is fantastic. It’s one of the better behind-the-scenes featurettes that I’ve seen on a DVD.

The AMC Backstory show is exactly what it sounds like: a promotional television show for the flick. There are interviews with the writers and clips from the actual movie, along with the story of how the script came to be written, optioned, and finally produced. Other than that, there’s really nothing more to it. It’s nice to have it on the DVD for posterity, I guess, but that’s about all I can say. Next, there’s the Reel Comedy show that Comedy Central uses as its movie promo vehicle. It’s essentially the same format as the AMC show, but it has a slightly funnier tilt to it. There are interviews with the cast and they seem to know that they are being filmed for Comedy Central so they take every opportunity to ham it up in front of the camera…again, interspersed with little clips from the movie itself. Neat, but nothing to write home about.

Lin Shaye from There's Something About Mary

Lin Shaye and the makeup designer discuss the repulsive Magda.

There is also Ben Stiller’s speech where he accepted his MTV Movie Award for his Best Fight with Puffy the Dog. Like every other of Ben Stiller’s satirical clips that he is famous for, it’s hilarious. The premise is that ILM created Puffy the Dog as a digital effects shot for the movie. So, there are fake interviews with the computer programmers as well as shots of Stiller miming his fight with the dog in front of a blue screen so that Puffy could be added in later. It’s really well done and a perfect addition to the DVD.

“Marketing Mary” is the name given to the gallery wherein we get a look at the international posters, theatrical trailer, and TV spots that they used to promote the movie. Again, posterity cheers, but that’s about it.

The dog from There's Something About Mary

The true star of There's Something About Mary: that lovable pooch.

The second page of the menu starts out with “Exposing Mary,” a series of interviews with some of the stars of the movie. There is some good information presented here, but, at this point on the DVD, it really has just gotten boring. I mean, how many times do we have to hear the same people saying pretty much the same things about their characters and working with each other? Then there are interviews with various people who talk about Jonathan Richman’s music for the movie–nice, because most DVDs gloss over the work of the guy who does the score.

In watching the next interview segment, it becomes blatantly obvious that they have overlooked one of the strongest actors in the movie: W. Earl Brown. He plays Mary’s “special” brother, Warren. This interview with him talks about his development of his own character in the movie and how the character came to be in the movie. It’s great to see him finally given an interview and the space to talk about his character, which ironically enough, is one of the ones that makes the movie watchable.

There's Something About Mary DVD menu

A DVD menu--which would be funnier if it were wearing fake teeth or something. I guess.

Plowing on through disc 2, it continues with some more of the interviews and featurettes that have been included. It starts out with an interview with Brett Favre, who plays himself as one of Mary’s former boyfriends at the end of the movie. I kind of had a What The Hell Is This Doing On The Disc attitude about this interview segment. All he can really say is how he worked his brief scene into his football schedule. Hoo-hah. The final interview segment is called “Interview Roulette” with Harland Williams. He has to be one of my least favorite actors or comedians mostly because he’s just not funny. He only has a bit part in the movie, so I kept wondering why the hell they chose to interview him.

The first of the featurettes is called Puffy, Boobs, and Balls. It’s a look at the special effects makeup in the movie. You can imagine what this is about: the prosthetic boobs on Magda, the “franks and beans” effect, and the making of the fake Puffy that Stiller did his fight sequence with, along with the other special makeup shots in the movie. The interview is set up really weird; it has a Brady Bunch feel to it. The screen is split in half and the make up designer is on one side and the actress who played Magda is on the other. Very odd.

Behind the Zipper starts out with the feel of a public service announcement telling of the dangers of…um…getting yourself caught in your zipper. Magda takes us through interviews with various doctors, paramedics, psychiatrists, and lawyers discussing what should be done if this ever happens. The first few minutes of it are funny, but after a while, it just gets old. They should have stopped while they were ahead. The next segment is a look (or listen) at the various dubbed tracks from international versions of the film. You can watch the ending scene in eight different languages (including Thai) and can scan through them using the “audio” button on your remote control. It’s fun, but it’s not the kind of thing that floats everyone’s boat. Again, after the first thirty seconds I was getting bored.

Hope you brought a sandwich; we’re almost done. With one exception, the final page of special features on the second disc are like the dregs at the bottom of a teacup. I’ll get to the exception in just a bit. First, let’s talk about how stupid the first two options are. There is a karaoke option whereby you can sing along with “Build Me Up Buttercup”. It’s played over shots of the various cast and crew singing along with you and some really random clips from the movie. All the while, the little Puffy in the cast is the icon that bounces from word to word as the lyrics flash across the screen (in a font large enough to be read from the next county). Just not all that much fun to watch and if you are singing along with the karaoke at home by yourself, then there are other issues at hand other than just plain loneliness.

Moving on, there is a (God forbid) music video on the DVD. You know, with all the other great stuff they put on here, a music video just seems like they were really trying to pad something out that didn’t need to be padded. Anyway, the video is for the song “Every Day Should Be a Holiday”. Whoo-hoo. The exception that I mentioned early are the outtakes, which bring us to the end of this DVD. This outtake reel is fairly well done, but there’s not enough of what feel like honest “screw-ups” during the takes. They mostly feel like the actors playing around with one another on camera. As a connoisseur of outtake reels, I have to say that there have been much better ones than this one put together.

Whew! So, these guys get full marks for sheer quantity of material and score fairly high on the quality of said material. I would say that this one should be on your shelf if you are a fan of the movie at all. However, you should at least rent the thing if nothing else to sample the vast feature action.

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By | 2017-09-25T00:01:28+00:00 December 7th, 2003|DVD Reviews|0 Comments

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