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THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon 
Directors:  Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video:  Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  20th Century Fox
Features:  See Review
Length:  119 Minutes
Release Date:  August 3, 1999

Film ***1/2

Crude, no-holds-barred comedies have made a resurgence in recent years, and perhaps the film most deserving of the credit (or the blame, depending on your point of view) is There’s Something About Mary.  This is an irreverent little comedy that became a blockbuster comedy through much word-of-mouth publicity and probably a lot of repeat business from the ticket buyers.  After years of living in a culture that was stifled by political correctness, this movie was a blast of fresh air, and made audiences feel liberated that they could laugh at such things again.

Ted (Stiller) loves Mary (Diaz).  It goes all the way back to high school, when they were supposed to attend the prom together, but it didn’t quite work out because Ted…well, got caught up in something.  Thirteen years later, having never got her out of his mind, he hires a sleazy private detective, Pat (Dillon) to try and locate her.  He does, but once he falls for Mary himself, the situation gets a little more sticky.  Literally so, at one point, in a sequence that might make you swear off hair gel for the rest of your life.

No matter what kind of comedy you prefer, chances are, you’ll love this film.  It has everything from slapstick, to mistaken identities, to conspiracy, to the crude and base gags that make you laugh, though you try not to.  As long as you’re not prone to being offended, this film is comic masterpiece, and will have you laughing until it hurts.

Video ***

This is a solid, though non-anamorphic transfer (come on, Fox, get back with it!) that is free from grain and compression.  Colors are mostly solid, and images are well defined, though maybe not quite as sharp as they could be from time to time. 

Audio ***

There’s a choice of 5.1 and 2.0 surround tracks.  The 5.1 is pretty good, with good dynamic range, though only sparse use of the rear stage and little, if any, channeling to the subwoofer.  The dialogue is clear throughout, but the best part of the audio for me was the songs, which sound terrific.

Features ***

The disc includes a trailer, a commentary by the Farrelly brothers, the music video and Karaoke versions of “Build Me Up Buttercup”, a nice outtake collection, and some amusing animated menus.

Summary:

There’s something about this movie that not only kept fans coming back for more, but inspired a new wave of uninhibited comedies that reveled in offbeat humor, poor taste, and the occasional gross out gag, though few if any have been as good.  So laugh hard, laugh often, and don’t feel guilty…you’re not alone.