The Farrelly Brothers’ “There’s Something About Mary” is a pitch black romance comedy, and it embraces its dark mood with a sense of humor that’s relentless in being ridiculous. Released during a time where Ben Stiller still had potential, and Cameron Diaz was still something of a fox, the Farrelly brothers focus less on the dream girl and the guy who lost her, and more how the dream girl manages to arouse a group of men that are dangerously obsessed with her.
Whether she knows it or not, the titular Mary is the dream girl every man wants, but has trouble finding the right guy who doesn’t idealize her rather than pursue a relationship. “There’s Something About Mary” is perfectly awkward and laugh out loud hysterical with a heavy dependence on one-liners and scenarios that will create a sense of unease but still leave you chuckling until the very end. As a teen, Ted manages to miraculously get a date with high school beauty Mary to the senior prom. After mistakenly seeing her undress, he accidentally injures himself, prompting him to end up in the hospital in a very embarrassing moment, and loses touch with her when she suddenly moves away.
Twenty years later, Ted hires a sleazy private investigator named Pat to check on Mary. While spying on her, Pat begins to fall in love with Mary and begins manipulating the situation in his favor, beginning a relationship with her and sabotaging Ted’s efforts. When he seeks her out in Florida anyway, it becomes a competition to see who can win Mary’s favor. Despite most of the cast holding almost no comedic chops, the Farrelly Brothers bring out the best in everyone, mining giggles from just about every cast member. Matt Dillon is even a surprisingly competent comic foil prone to making a fool of himself and offering some hearty laughs.
Diaz is also charming in her way, eliciting a few chuckles despite playing the straight man for the majority of the film. There are also hilarious turns by Lin Shaye, and Chris Elliot. The stand out though is Keith David, whose brief five minute appearance allows for some of the best laughs of the film, with Stiller playing well off of him in one of the most cringe inducing moments of the whole experience. “There’s Something About Mary” really presents the Farrelly Brothers at their boldest and most ingenious. No gag in the movie is too off the wall, and every joke lands arousing great laughs resulting in one very entertaining and original twist on the romance comedy and the lunacy the “ideal woman” can incite.