There’s Something About Mary

Released:  1998

Cast:  Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott, Lee Evans, Lin Shaye, W. Earl Brown

SUMMARY:  In 1985, high school student Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller) — and most of the other high school boys — are in love with Mary Jensen (Cameron Diaz).  Ted attracts her attention when he comes to the aid of her mentally handicapped brother, Warren.  Mary asks Ted to the prom, but on the night of the dance Ted incurs a zipper injury that puts him in the hospital.  Soon after, Mary and her family move to Miami, and Ted doesn’t ever hear from her again.  Thirteen years later, Ted realizes that he still thinks about Mary.  His best friend, Dom (Chris Elliott), works for an insurance company and suggests that Ted use the company’s investigator to track Mary down.  Ted follows the advice and hires Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) to find Mary.  Healy is easily able to find Mary in Miami and begins to conduct surveillance on her, listening in on conversations and following her around.  While he learns a lot about Mary, he also falls in love with her himself; when he goes home, he tells Ted that Mary is grossly overweight and has several children with different men.  He then packs up and moves to Miami, where he uses his inside information to attract Mary.  However, Ted has decided that he still wants to at least talk to Mary.  He drives down to Miami, but on the way is accidentally arrested in a raid, then jailed on suspicion of murder.  Luckily, the police straighten things out, and after Dom sees Ted on TV, he comes down to join him on the trip.  Dom also reveals that Healy was lying about Mary:  in reality, she is in terrific shape, with no children, and is an orthopedic surgeon.

Meanwhile, Pat seems to have won Mary over.  However, Mary’s friend Tucker (Lee Evans) is suspicious of Pat, and presents evidence that Pat is a serial murderer.  When an angry Pat follows him, he discovers that Tucker is also in love with Mary, and has been putting on an elaborate charade.  Instead of being a British, physically-handicapped architect, Tucker is an American pizza delivery guy with no physical issues.  Mary breaks ties with Pat, and after seeing Ted again, begins a relationship with him.  Mary tells Ted that she was once close to getting married, to a guy named Brett, but that he said nasty things about her brother Warren, so they broke up.  Things seem to be going well until Mary gets a letter telling her that Ted hired Pat Healy to spy on her.  Ted tracks down Pat and Tucker (whose real name is Norm), who are now in cahoots, but learns that neither of them wrote the letter.  In actuality, the letter was written by Dom, a former high school boyfriend who “got weird” and stole all of her shoes.  After talking to Pat and Norm, Ted realizes that all of them have used manipulation and sneaky methods to get to Mary, and that the only person who didn’t do this was Brett (who didn’t really say nasty things about Warren — Norm framed him).  Soon, all three men, and Dom, end up back at Mary’s house.  Ted has also tracked down Mary’s old boyfriend Brett — who turns out to be NFL quarterback Brett Favre.  Ted tells Mary that she and Brett should be together, as he just wants her to be happy.  He leaves in tears, but is stopped in the street by Mary, who tells him that she would be happiest with him.

MY TAKE:  This film has sort of a dirty reputation, and it didn’t disappoint.  Yes, there were some funny moments, but there were way too many explicitly sexual jokes and innuendoes for me.  I just don’t find that funny, and I don’t think it’s necessary.  The premise is funny:  a guy hires a private investigator to find an old girlfriend, but the investigator falls in love with her; an epic battle ensues, complicated by two other guys that are in love with her.  Watching Pat try to pass himself off as Mary’s dream guy is hilarious, especially when he drugs the dog in an attempt to make a good impression.  The raunchy jokes just ruined things.  Basically, it seemed like a couple of pubescent, hormonal boys wrote the script.  I did like the Brett Favre cameo, because although I think I knew, somewhere in my mind, that he was in this movie, it did not register when they talked about “Brett”.  Suddenly, he shows up, and I thought that the other poor guys were sunk (although I knew that in real life Favre was married).  I’m not sure how Mary decided that she would be happiest with Ted, since she had only seen Brett for about five minutes since their breakup (over an imaginary slight), but it made for a happy ending.  Seriously, if they could scrub this down to a PG-13 movie, it would probably be a pretty good movie.

RATING:  Too raunchy.

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