The 1998 “romantic” comedy There’s Something About Mary set off a chain of would be films that would follow in its path that would attempt to clone the uniqueness that the film presented. The Farrelly Brothers who directed the film would even attempt to recapture the raunchy romance genre with The Heartbreak Kid, reuniting with Mary co-star Ben Stiller. Although that film wasn’t too successful, their first outing was. With worldwide box office receipts totaling nearly $400 million, There’s Something About Mary was exactly the jolt the tired romantic comedy genre needed…although the film is not without its downsides.
The “way over the line” (Los Angeles Times) romantic comedy with an all-star cast is even more hilarious on Blu-ray. with over two hours of features, including commentary, featurettes and interviews, and the extended film version, this is the Mary you’ll want to watch again and again! With help from sleazy private investigator Pat Healy (Matt Dillon), angst-driven Ted (Ben Stiller) finds his prom date crush, Mary (Cameron Diaz), thirteen years after high school. But when Healy decides he wants her for himself, the two men soon wage an outrageous battle for Mary’s affections.
Back in 1998 when this film was released, I had no hope of ever seeing it. My parents were strict about films over PG-13 and a film as raunchy as There’s Something About Mary just wasn’t happening for me—which is a shame, because when you’re under the age of thirteen…that’s when this movie would be funny as hell to you. Unfortunately the “R” rating on the film doesn’t necessarily denote that the contents are mature; not to rain on everyone’s parade who is a fan of this movie but…really, guys? How did this make nearly half a billion dollars in theaters? I just don’t understand how the film could get that much repeat business, as this film, while filled with funny moments, simply isn’t funny for the two hours that it runs.
I can definitely see the appeal of this film back in 1998, as there really wasn’t much like it. Nowadays with Apatow comedies running everywhere, this type of film is much more common, but before 2000 a film with this much genuine romantic intentions piled alongside ejaculate jokes…well, there just wasn’t a market for this type of film until…well, this film. But what made this film so great a decade ago was that there was nothing else like it until it got cloned into a myriad of other similar films down the road.
Sadly, for me, the jokes here really just don’t stand the test of time. Nor would they even had made me laugh in 1998 I don’t think, as I never exactly found sequences where a crippled man has trouble picking up his dropped car keys to be funny anyway. Sure, there are some funny moments, but they all seem to stem from Ben Stiller’s penis in some way and that even gets tired over time (sorry Ben). In fact, there’s really not all that much humor to be had here anyway; a bunch of jokes that never really hit their mark, a string of foul mouthed conversations that go nowhere and…really, I don’t know what the appeal of this film was originally.
Perhaps that it worked in a genuine romantic comedy plot into is what made this such a hit with audiences. Girls could go for the romance plot (which admittedly was a bit thin, but hey…it was there) and guys could laugh at all of the gross out Farrelly humor. I had hoped that even by watching the extended edition (a full bonus ten minutes! Woohoo!) that I would enjoy the film a tad bit more…but, alas. Just a few more jokes that I didn’t find particularly funny.
Overall while this film does have some charm left in it, I just really didn’t “get” the film. Then again, I never have really understood the appeal of the Farrelly Brother’s films, as I disliked The Heartbreak Kid as well (although I do find some perverse enjoyment from Dumb and Dumber, I’ll admit). Worth a Rental at least I suppose if you’re one of the few who haven’t seen this decade old film and want to see Cameron Diaz never wear a bra for two hours.
Those who picked up the previous two-disc DVD release from a few years back will know what to expect from this Blu-ray update. This release arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray with Eco-Saver technology (i.e., the case is full of holes). No inserts are included and the disc art is of Mary holding the dog. Menus are simple and easy to navigate (and feature the main song from the film playing over it in a loop), while the AVC encoded (@21.5mpbs) feature looks more than satisfactory for a decade old comedy. Truth be told there’s nothing really to amaze or offend by this transfer; everything looks crisp and clear and the cityscape of Florida is nice and easy on the eyes. The audio is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that I never once heard leave the front channels, so if you enjoy front-channel driven comedy mixes…you’ll be in love with this one.
Extras are all carried over from the previous two-disc DVD release and include two cuts of the film, as well as…well, just a slew of extras. Starting off is a Directors Commentary with Peter & Bobby Farrelly, a bonus Director’s Scene-Specific Bonus Commentary, Writers Commentary with Ed Decter & John J. Strauss (theatrical only) and a bonus Clay Animated Titles sequence for…some reason. The remaining extras include:
Getting Behind Mary (43:44)
AMC Backstory: There’s Something About Mary (20:50)
Comedy Central: Reel Comedy (21:31)
Up a Tree With Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins (11:37)
Frank and Beans: A Conversation with Earl Brown (5:32)
Exposing Themselves: Diaz, Dillon, Stiller, Elliott (14:26)
Touchdown: A Conversation with Brett Favre (5:37)
Interview ROulette with Harland Williams (6:51)
Puffy, Boobs, and Balls (10:51)
Around the World with Mary – eight different languages featurette
Marketing Mary – TV spots, trailers
“Every Day should Be a Holiday” Music Video (4:13)
Build me up Buttercup Karaoke (3:03)
Behind the Zipper (4:35)
These extras are all in standard definition.
If you own the previous two-disc DVD release then there’s no real reason to upgrade to this one. Everything’s the same and aside from nice Florida visuals there’s…really nothing worth stepping into the 1080p realm for. Unless you want a massive selection of foreign language tracks and subtitles to choose from.
There’s Something About Mary is now available on Blu-ray.