review for There's Something About Mary on AllMovie

There's Something About Mary (1998)
by Matthew Doberman review

Some movies make you smile, some make you laugh, and some make you laugh so hard you spill Milk Duds all over your date. The Farrelly brothers' There's Something About Mary falls solidly in the latter category. Few films have violated so many taboos and been so successful in their quest for laughs. While scatological and intermittently offensive, There's Something About Mary redeems itself by being both legitimately funny and surprisingly sweet. With a couple of notable exceptions -- the "handicapped" Tucker's flailing becomes gratuitous -- this is a movie with real heart. Amidst the I-can't-believe-they-did-that shocks, you find yourself rooting for Ben Stiller's Ted and Cameron Diaz's Mary to end up together -- they're the most honest, caring people in the film. There's Something About Mary also merits attention for its less-controversial laughs, such as the amusingly absurd musical narrative provided by Jonathan Richman, or Bret Favre's hilarious surprise cameo. Not all the jokes are precisely on-target, but with so many that are, Mary's transgressions are easily forgotten. To say it's not for prudish tastes is a grave understatement. But There's Something About Mary is truly an excellent comedy, one that proves the considerable latitude afforded filmmakers in the permissive late 1990s resulted in more than just an inordinate amount of fart jokes.