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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> August 1998 >> There's Something About Mary

There's Something About Mary

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
August 1998
IMDB Name:
There's Something About Mary (1998)
Bobby Farrelly
Peter Farrelly
MPAA Rating:
R for strong comic sexual content and language.

Cringe City

There is great concern that trailers give away more of the movie than they should. The first time through a movie like The Truman Show will be radically different if you know in advance that which isn't explicitly explained until about forty-five minutes in. The trailer for There's Something About Mary gives away one of the biggest laughs in the movie, but surprisingly not to the detriment of the effectiveness of the joke. I was crossing and re-crossing my legs for several minutes awaiting the punchline that I'd seen in the commercials. The buildup brought me to a fever pitch before the movie took the joke farther than thirty seconds would allow, making it a seriously potent laugh.

The movie is packed with cringe moments. The directors know how to build a joke like Rossini knew how to build a crescendo. The score uses Bizet's Carmen, but I digress. There are more jokes that go past where you'd think they'd stop being funny, then get a notch funnier. This movie made me laugh so much that I hurt. There should almost be a warning advising against having food around because of the disastrous consequences if a laugh strikes at the wrong time.

I feel compelled to mention that not all of the humor is in good taste. Maybe none of the humor is in good taste. The shattering of expectations about what is allowed to be funny in politically correct times brings on some of the biggest laughs. Just don't say I didn't warn you!


Cameron Diaz is an awfully good sport. She is cast here as the average American male's perfect woman. That's not the most flattering character to portray, necessarily, but the camera worships her, and it's well deserved. Diaz was sultry in The Mask as Tina Carlyle, but here she glows with an impossible innocence and joy. Unless I missed something, Diaz is only wearing underwear when the plot plans to have her remove it for comic effect, and it contributed to the already immense sex appeal of the character. The movie does indeed give Mary Something to have There be About. As the title implies, There's Something About Mary!

Suitors Galore

I should really make some mention of Mary's many suitors. Ben Stiller is at his most likable as the pathetic protagonist. Matt Dillon, so hunky in Wild Things, is tamed down one way and fired up in another as a truly unctuous slimebag. Lee Evans (see if you can pick him out in Fifth Element) really sells his disability. A few more, including an unlikely sports hero, pop their heads in, but not with the results of the main three.

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Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.