There's Something About Mary

There's Something About Mary is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. This is a movie that made me laugh out hard on more than one occasion.

The movie starts off with Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller) being asked out to the prom by Mary Jensen Matthews (Cameron Diaz). This leads to a disastrous (and hilarious) series of events which culminates in him being rushed to the hospital ("we've got a bleeder!"). Soon after, Mary leaves the little town of Cumberland, Rhode Island. Thirteen years later Ted is still convinced he is in love with her. He hires a private investigator, Pat Healy (Matt Dillon), to investigate her whereabouts. Unfortunately Pat gets too involved in his job (literally) and falls for Mary, while convincing Ted that Mary isn't worth pursuing. But before he can sink his teeth in, he is foiled by Tucker (Lee Evans) an "architect" friend of Mary's who himself has a crush on her.

Meanwhile, Ted decides to investigate for himself the truth about Mary, and runs into Pat and Tucker. Eventually there's a stand off between Ted, Pat, Tucker, Ted's friend Dom (Chris Elliot), and Brett Favre (for the record, I had no clue as to who he was until this movie and I am quite proud of that fact) for Mary's affections.

This "under-the-table" competition is a great set up for some excellent situational comedy. But the real fun parts in the interaction between Mary and the ones who seek to woo her. The humour in this movie is actually pretty clever, in that the situations are so absurd that I've never seen anything like it before. Also, because of the way the editing is done, the punch lines are delivered in rapid cuts to the focus to the joke... shots that in a moment completely and totally make the last few minutes before it show up in a radically new perspective. And contrary to what some have said, I didn't think it was gross at all; in fact, Dumb and Dumber I thought was slightly grosser than this one.

The choice of casting is excellent--I especially liked the Matt Dillon character. Cameron Diaz's character takes it all on her chin (or, really, on her hair) and is blissfully ignorant of what goes on around her. Interestingly enough, one of the best casting choices was using Jonathan Richman, a somewhat underrated artist with a cult following, for both the music and as a narrator of sorts of Ted's plight in the movie. While none of the characters match the exuberance of Jim Carrey, who pushed Dumb and Dumber up a notch, that's not necessary here as the focus is on more than one or two primary characters.

In the end, the movie degenerates into a sappy romance, but by this time, my stomach was already hurting from laughing too much. I highly recommend this one, because it will change the way you think about what is funny.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||