Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Monday, 28 February 2011

There's Something About Mary


Thirteen years after blowing his chances with the gorgeous Mary (Cameron Diaz), lovestruck Ted (Ben Stiller) hires Private Eye Patrick Healy (Matt Dillon) to track her down. However, Patrick falls in love at first sight with her, and this starts off a web of lies, deceit and many more people declaring their love for Mary.

As a comedy, this film's screenplay has everything needed to make it hilarious. The plot of the love (erm...) octagon (?) is a situation that could only be done in comedy, and a farce at that, yet despite being quite farcical there is always a sense of sophistication about it, which comes from the fact that all the men vying for Mary's attention are just lovestruck, and doing stupid things, which comes naturally from being lovestruck, so in a way you can somewhat relate to it.
To make it even more farcical there is also toilet, gross and sexual humour that is actually quite outrageous. The p**is caught in the zipper gag is played so well by Stiller, and the fact he makes it funny is an attribute to his talent as an actor, as that is something most blokes wouldn't even want to have nightmares about. Although it is also slightly outrageous, thanks to that vivid shot of the p**is caught in the zipper. Yikes! And of course, who could forget that "hair gel" gag? That is a piece of successful gross humour, made all the more funny by Diaz's well done obliviousness to what the "hair gel" actually is.
There is also a sense of maturity and seriousness occasionally within the film, which stems from Warren (W. Earl Brown), Mary's mentally disabled brother. Having a mentally disabled character is always a sensitive area to tackle in a film, particularly in a comedy, but Brown plays it successfully and Warren's scenes are generally a break from the laugh a minute comedy.

Ultimately the screenplay is brought to wonderful life by the cast. In the first half hour Stiller plays the awkward 16-year-old role perfectly, making him really dorky, but for the rest of the film plays the lovesick Ted very well. Diaz is also very good, her turmoil over the blokes falling at her feet and which means the most to her at the end packed full of feeling, and the love for her mentally disabled brother is very heartfelt and kind. Matt Dillon makes Healy a very creepy and slightly unnerving character, but one can't help but laugh at his foolishness. Lee Evans however steals the show as pizza boy Norm, who poses as British Architect Dr Tucker in order to win Mary. He is so deliciously over the top, and he times his physical movements and lines perfectly for full comic impact. He is the one you will remember the most by the end.

In short a very well written comedy, played superbly by a top notch cast. But one has to question the film's "morals" as such. Is this film trying to encourage us to make a play for a beautiful woman we have only met once or twice, and try to sabotage anybody else trying to win her affections? Is it telling us to just drop our pants for a beautiful girl who smiles at us once? That is only the start of what Norm and Healy do. One could say that is what the film is trying to tell us, however, it is a comedy so that's most likely not the case. I think it's basically saying kick back, relax, forget about the real world for a couple of hours, and laugh you head off.

Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, W. Earl Brown, Markie Post, Keith David, Sarah Silverman, Khandi Alexander, Brett Favre, Jonathan Richman, Willie Garson, Harland Williams.

Golden Globe nominations: Best Picture - Musical/Comedy, Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy (Cameron Diaz).

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