Movie Review: “There’s Something About Mary”

   If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never understand how some films are critically acclaimed and how others fall into the depths of eternal ‘pan-ville’. A film like American Pie can be deemed too childish, and yet something like this will be called heartfelt and funny. It feels like it appeals to the exact same type of audience, and there isn’t often a clear variable that expresses why there’s a difference in how a film is received. Maybe in this case, it’s a matter of one beating the other to the punch, or individuals falling head over heels for the film that helped launch her career.

    There’s Something About Mary is a 1998 comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers, other-wise known for Dumb and Dumber. The film is a romantic comedy with elements of gross-out humor. It stars Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller. 

I can’t really say why I wanted to see it. Usually I like to share a little anecdote about the rhyme or reason, but I don’t really have one. Nothing other than the fact that it was on and I had two-hours to kill, I suppose.

    The film follows a socially-awkward and shy fella named Ted Stroehmann that manages to find a date to the prom with an attractive girl named Mary Jensen. This doesn’t go exactly as expected, and afterward, Ted loses touch with Mary. Years later, Ted is still thinking about Mary, so much to the point that he decides to hire somebody to head to Miami and she what she is up to. Things like whether or not she’s married, has any kids, and that kind-of stuff. This basically leads to an outlandish and other-wise silly love story in Ted’s pursuit of Mary.

    It offers up one outlandish scene after the next, filled with  over-the-top humor that I found myself unable to appreciate. I brought up American Pie as a comparison because it’s another film that uses gross-out humor for the cheap-laugh. It isn’t a matter of wit, or something that takes a skillfulness at the craft, but it’s shock-value. If this were a horror-film, shock-value humor is the equivalent of jump-scares. In the sense that they almost never work.

    The humor feels like it would be funny if I was watching a YouTube clip or reading a funny story online, … it’d be funny if it actually happened or to some extent it did, but whenever I see it acted out, it almost always feels forced and contrived. The film’s humor seems to be one miss after the next, each becoming more ridiculous and more stupid than the last. I didn’t laugh, and it bothers me because I enjoyed Dumb and Dumber’s slap-stick and light-heart humor. Unfortunately, this one feels like a different animal entirely.

   I will say that the characters are charming as far as the leads are concerned. Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller have a certain chemistry that I would have liked to see explored more than what we actually did. For a lot of the film, usually when they interacted, there was something that kept them from really connecting as characters, and so we never really were able to see the extent of how likeable they could come across together. Both characters are colorful in their own right. Ben Stiller is over-the-top for the first section of the film, but once he has the chance to lose the braces, his character becomes a lot more realistic and likeable.

    Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz depends a lot on her natural charm to carry herself throughout the film, and it works for the most part. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast doesn’t really do anything for me. I dislike them, but not in the sense that they are morally bad character, but because I would really, really like it if they would leave and not come back into the film. In-fact, it actually makes me wonder about what this film could have been.

    Instead of what they decided to do, I wish they would have made it as simple as a guy trying to win over a crush from high-school. Keep the gross-out humor, but make it about them. Sadly, I’m not a director, and I likely be held in the highest regard when it comes to making a movie because of that.

    All that I am saying is that it had the means to be something worthwhile, but it simply didn’t end up being it. Every moment of self-awareness and every refreshing moment for a romantic-comedy is followed by something too stupid for words that simply doesn’t work.

    In conclusion, There’s Something About Molly doesn’t really work as anything too edgy by today’s standards. Unfortunately, when you take away the crassness and the audacity, there isn’t very much left. The leads have charm, but unfairly take a backseat to the over-the-top, and not-so-funny humor.

    I think this might be the time that I really hated a critically acclaimed film on Out of Frame before. Whatever, it had to happen sooner or later. The film is nonsensical, unfunny, and boring.

Thanks for reading…

Rating: – Bad

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