Crazy, crazy, and
Ridiculous in every
Way, and I loved it
If there were a group of movies called “Wild, out of control, crazy, impractical, ridiculous movies” it would be the most phenomenal category of films ever compiled (I’m sure Netflix has something like it. In fact, Netflix has categories for the following, most with only one film that fits: Canadian Made For TV Movies, Latin-American Forbidden Love Movies, Dark Road Trip Movies From the 1970s, Gory Canadian Revenge Movies, and Sentimental Movies About Horses For Ages 11-12).
There’s Something About Mary is a fantastically ludicrous adventure, which is essentially my favorite type of movie. It had a little bit of Airplane in it, a dash of The Blues Brothers, and a pinch of When Harry Met Sally, all combined to create something that was wildly improbable but strangely relatable.
Ted (Ben Stiller) receives a surprise invite to prom from Mary (Cameron Diaz). Before they can even get out the front door, literally everything goes awry. Ted accidentally provokes Mary’s mentally-challenged brother, who proceeds to beat him up. Ted goes to the bathroom and stares at two doves outside the window; the doves fly away and he is staring directly into Mary’s room where she is half-naked with her mother. They see him, and in a rush he zips his pants and gets his “frank and beans” impossibly crunched within the zipper. This leads to everyone pointing and laughing with disgust, and random appearances by a police officer and a fireman.
It’s the perfect start to the movie and it had me dying.
Ted can’t forget about Mary so he goes on a quest to find her, only to realize that pretty much everyone in Miami loves Mary and is willing to do anything to extract mutual adoration from her.
I think we all know what scene I’m referring to. If it’s something I knew about before I even watched the movie, it must be spectacular.
Every movie needs a memorable scene, this is the one for There’s Something About Mary. It’s the perfect mix of stupid, clever, insane, and hilarious. The best part isn’t even the fact that Ted has jizz all over his ear, it’s that Mary, for some odd reason, even feels the need to take what she thinks is hair gel and mouse up her ‘do. Why would she even do that? Any rational person would say “hey, you have hair gel on your ear. Clean it up and we can go.”
And therein lies the brilliance of the movie. Mary doesn’t just see jizz she thinks is hair gel, she has to take it and use it. Ted doesn’t just see Mary getting dressed, he has to capture his dick and balls in a zipper death trap. Ted doesn’t just have to pick up a hitchhiker, he has to pick him up, stop to pee, get arrested because he ended up on his knees at a gay orgy, accidentally admit to murder, and learn that the man he picked up is a serial killer who chops people up for fun. What is there not to like?
Why not a perfect review?
David, you’ll say, you’re waxing poetic about this movie. Why didn’t you give it a 5 out of 5?
Answer: I wanted to, but there were a few things about the movie that didn’t quite work for me
First and foremost, it seemed a little disjointed at points. It was hard to tell who was the main character – even though you knew it was Ted, the movie switched about a quarter of way in by making it more about THREE characters, and it was a bit jarring. Also, while the ridiculous plots and subplots were welcome, it did seem as though the director had a few set pieces in mind and was constructing the rest of the film around them.
To be sure, the set pieces were phenomenal, but they often felt forced and out of place. This was especially true with two characters in particular: Sully, and the dog, Puffy. Sully (Jeffrey Tambor) is Healy’s (Matt Dillon) friend who gets himself re-hooked on cocaine and ends up being eaten by his pet snake. Hilarious, but what? Certainly great scenes, but they didn’t fit the flow of the movie. Puffy had some memorable appearances, particularly this one, which was one of my favorite parts of the entire movie:
Puffy also ended up taking way too much speed and attempted to eat Ted before flying out the window to his near-demise. These two scenes were absolutely perfect in almost every way, but they felt like sketch comedy in relation to the movie. It’s a minor complaint, and only takes off half a star. I’m a Russian judge.
Brett Favre: Mary doesn’t just date a Brett prior to all the madness – she dates THE Brett, Brett Favre, then the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
The best thing was, it didn’t surprise me at all. That’s the type of movie this was. And you know what? Brett wasn’t too shabby. He looked able and ready, though it’s ironic that later on in his career he’d have his frank and beans in more of a pickle than Ted did.
Some pictures from this movie: There’s Something About Mary had quite a few golden scenes, scenes that if you were to capture a single screenshot, it would draw laughter from the most sullen of crowds. These types of scenes are my favorite, the ones where you could say “caption this photo” and get witty responses galore:
That’s Puffy on the roof, by the way.
Sappiness Rating: 1/10. Beautiful. Just beautiful. There was love, there was romance, but it was built around raunchy, dirty, hilarious, clever jokes and high comedy. And how many movies end with a final kiss during which the random two-man band following the proceedings gets offed by an old man with a sniper rifle? Probably the best final kiss scene I will ever see.
There’s Something About Mary did something magical – it crushed the malaise with which I’ve started to feel when watching these romcoms. It’s not curing what ails me, which is general exhaustion and the apocalyptic mien that comes with knowing you still have more than half of the challenge to go. But it was a welcome reprieve from the generic, and a welcome return to serious quality. This is a movie I would have loved to watch even if I wasn’t currently frying my brain with a torturous conveyor belt of sappiness and romance.
My only regret is: why didn’t I save this as a return to form once I gorge myself with From Justin To Kelly?