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

There's Something About Mary movie poster

Written by: Ed Decter, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly & John J. Strauss
Directed by: The Brothers Farrelly
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Chris Elliott, Lee Evans

My Advice: Rental.

The hypemonster rides again in this highly irreverent and also highly unfunny movie, which many are touting as the funniest movie of the decade. Granted, from the trailer you would think that was the case. Unfortunately, the trailer’s got the majority of the best parts of the film in it and comparing this to other movies that were actually funny is insulting. But first, a word about the plot. Ted (Stiller) is the nicest loser you will ever meet. He’s been carrying a thirteen-year crush on Mary (Diaz), and who can blame him? She doesn’t wait for you to ask her about coming up to see your etchings, she wants you to come up and watch Sportscenter. He hasn’t seen her in the same amount of years, ever since he got his member (although it’s referred to by a fairly funny Keith David as a particular food) caught in a zipper on the night of Prom. Ted hires Pat (Dillon) to go find her, and when he does, Pat falls for her as well. Because of the title, of course.

[ad#longpost]It’s a funny premise, no doubt. Any male who comes into contact with Mary loses it and becomes completely obsessed with her. Diaz is good as the wonderful object of everyone’s affection, although she appears to have mixed results in finding a good comedy (see Life Less Ordinary for another mistake she’s made). Stiller is funny as the put-upon loser. Dillon is having fun hamming it up as the sleazy Pat, but it’s almost too much for the audience to have fun with. Elliott is good as Stiller’s friend, Dom, but I most enjoyed Lee Evans as the architect, Tucker, who seems the most sane person in the film. I thought everyone did fairly well with their roles, I just wish they were playing them in a different film. The material is at fault here. When it’s funny, it’s uproariously hilarious–the scenes with the dog that were in the trailer–there’s more to them, which is good. When it’s not funny, it’s hideously dull and too long. Scenes that I suppose were supposed to be funny (Evans trying to reach beyond his crutches for keys he’s dropped, Dillon’s teeth, a useless sequence involving a fishhook) simply weren’t and crippled the film because of its unevenness. Most comedies like this at least have the sense to be more rapid fire with the jokes so you’re never more than a few seconds away from a better joke. But after the ups and downs from groaning with bored displeasure to laughing with delight, a very lame and unsatisfying ending (with the failed but interesting attempt at a twist) finished off the movie…and me too. Do yourself a favor and wait for it to hit your local video store.

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