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There's Something About Mary(1998)
There's something about Mary that still bewitches Ted. Although he hasn't seen her in over a dozen years, since that shameful prom night, his heart still flutters at the recollection of her. He's still crazy about her after all these years, and curious as to her whereabouts. At the insistence of his good friend Dom, he hires private eye Pat Healy to track her down in Miami.
For more about There's Something About Mary and the There's Something About Mary Blu-ray release, see There's Something About Mary Blu-ray Review published by Dustin Somner on May 21, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans (I), Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye
Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
» See full cast & crew
There's Something About Mary Blu-ray Review
The comedic gem that gave "hair gel" a whole new meaning arrives on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Dustin Somner, May 21, 2009
The Farrelly brothers ruled the comedy world throughout much of the 90's and introduced audiences to a new brand of comedy that's distasteful and charming at the same time. Dumb and Dumber put them on the map and Kingpin earned them a cult following, but it wasn't until the 1998 release of There's Something About Mary that Bobby and Peter Farrelly gained mainstream success. The film was produced with a reasonable budget of 23 million dollars, but went on to earn over 170 million during it's initial theatrical run and currently resides in 12th place on the list of highest grossing comedies (adjusted for inflation). The film may not appeal to everyone and requires an appreciation of crude humor, but there's no denying the impact There's Something About Mary has had on a number of comedic releases in the past ten years.
Mary (Cameron Diaz) is a beautiful blonde with a knack for making those around her feel good about themselves. In the twilight of his teenage years, the socially awkward Ted (Ben Stiller) invites Mary to attend their high school prom with him, believing he can finally win her heart. Unfortunately for Ted, a strange (and painful) accident with his tuxedo pants cuts the evening short (literally) and ruins his chances with Mary. Flash forward thirteen years, and we find Ted unable to erase Mary's memory from his mind. After speaking with his best friend Dom (Chris Elliott), Ted enlists the aide of a shady private detective named Healy (Matt Dillon) in an effort to track Mary down and tell her how he really feels. Instead of following through on his task, Healy finds himself head-over-heels for Mary as well and goes to any length possible to deter Ted from continuing his pursuit of Mary. Will Ted win Mary's heart despite Healy's shenanigans, or will a chain of events force Ted to give up on the woman of his dreams and accept a life of regret.
When I originally watched There's Something About Mary, I absolutely loved the film. I'll admit there were several cringe-inducing moments and a couple of over-the-top sequences, but taken as a whole, the film was thoroughly entertaining and surprisingly charming. I felt a little uncomfortable with laughing at jokes that poke fun at some of the less fortunate members of our society, but by the end of the film it became clear the Farrelly Brothers weren't singling out any one segment of the population. I'm not saying the film won't offend a number of viewers, but it's hard to find a good comedy that doesn't poke fun at the occasional expense of others. My favorite comedy of the 1970's is Blazing Saddles, which generated a flood of outcries for what many believed to be racially insensitive subject matter (yet the film has still been regarded as one of the greatest comedic masterpieces of all time). Pushing the envelope is what comedies do best and There's Something About Mary pushes dangerously close to the line of poor taste, without ever crossing over.
Having said all that, I've reached the conclusion that the film doesn't maintain the same gut-busting reaction upon repeat viewing. I've probably watched There's Something About Mary eight times now (though I hadn't seen it in five years prior to this viewing), and with the exception of several memorable scenes, the overall entertainment value has diminished significantly. I still love the interrogation scene where Ted and the detectives discuss the homeless man from Ted's car (not knowing they are each referring to a much different crime)--and I'll never get sick of the scenes where Warren pummels Ted or Healy; but some moments in the film have lost their comedic luster. The greatest comedies continue to get better with time (Office Space), while others grow stale, and There's Something About Mary tends to fall somewhere in the middle. Perhaps it was the excessive runtime (130 minutes on the director's cut), or the annoying nature of Matt Dillon's character, but I was left with a much different opinion of the film after this viewing. I sincerely hope everyone who hasn't seen the film still gives it a chance, but I'm not sure veterans of this comedy will find the same level of enjoyment they experienced ten years ago.
There's Something About Mary Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in 1080p utilizing the AVC codec (with an average bit rate of 21Mbps), There's Something About Mary doesn't fair well on Blu-ray. Considering the film is only 11 years old, I expected a substantial improvement when making the jump to 1080p. Fine object detail is better than an upscaled DVD, but not by much. I'm accustomed to Blu-ray transfers that exhibit an occasional drop in clarity from scene to scene, but this transfer is flat from start to finish. Anyone with an aversion to grain has nothing to worry about on this release, since the visible presence of film grain requires a resolution that this transfer doesn't possess. I briefly checked the prior DVD version of the film and there appears to be a slight improvement in color saturation, with natural tones that still appear somewhat bright or drab on occasion. If your hoping for positives, you'll be happy to hear I never detected the presence of digital artifacting or edge enhancement and black levels are appropriately deep with sufficient contrast.
Overall, fans of the film will likely be disappointed in the lack of improvement on this release, but should keep in mind the transfer is still serviceable for a comedy that lacks any shred of visual effects.
There's Something About Mary Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The primary audio offering on this release is an English 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. Given the quality of the video transfer, I suppose it was too much to expect a significant improvement in the audio on the disc. As with most comedies, the track is heavy on dialogue and low on atmospheric sound effects. Musical numbers seem to be the only element of the mix that extend to the surround speakers, since dialogue is placed solely in the middle/front soundstage. Speaking of the dialogue, I was left with an impression that the voice recordings were conducted in a metal tunnel. The tinny, hollow effect is far from proficient (even in the comedy genre) and doesn't do much to enrich the overall viewing experience.
There's Something About Mary Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The best feature on the disc is the inclusion of the theatrical version (119 min) as well as the director's cut (130 min). The director's cut doesn't add much substance to the film, but there are at least a couple of additional scenes that deserve a spot in the longer version.
Getting Behind Mary (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 43:44 min): This behind-the-scenes feature includes rough footage from the set and interviews with the actors or filmmakers. I found the segment entertaining for the first 15 minutes or so, but I doubt many people will want to watch the entire thing.
Backstory: There's Something About Mary (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 20:50 min): Chronicling the history of the creation of the film, this supplement includes footage from the film and interviews with the writers/directors/producers. The narrator fills in the gaps between the interviews and provides a comprehensive look at many aspects of the film's production. Fans will find plenty to like about this extra.
Comedy Central: Reel Comedy (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 21:31 min): Hosted by Harland Williams and including interviews with Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, and Chris Elliott, this television special was clearly filmed prior to the release of the film and is intended as a marketing ploy. If you've already watched the film, you probably won't find this feature all that interesting.
Up a Tree with Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkin (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 11:37 min): This low-budget segment includes interviews with musical artists that chat about Jonathan Richman's (singer of the musical numbers in the film) career, followed by an interview segment with Richman and Larkin discussing their hobbies and history.
Franks and Beans: A Conversation with W. Earl Brown (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 5:32 min): W. Earl Brown does an excellent job playing Warren in the film and he discusses how he came up with the attributes of his handicapped character.
Exposing Themselves (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 14:26 min): Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz and Chris Elliott talk about their experiences working on the film.
Touchdown: A Conversation with Brett Favre (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 5:37 min): Brett Favre is interviewed six years after the release of the film and talks about his involvement in the film (as one of Mary's love interests).
Interview Roulette with Harland Williams (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 6:51 min): Williams is given camera time to talk about random thoughts and burp. Don't waste your time.
Puffy, Boobs and Balls (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 10:51 min): The make-up designer and actress Lin Shaye (Magda in the film) chat about the the gross-out effects in the film and the heavy use of prosthetics in creating the character of Magda.
Around the World with Mary: This feature allows you to watch the final scene of the film in eight different languages (you can switch between the languages on the fly).
Marketing Mary: This section contains international posters, the theatrical trailer and seven TV spots.
"Every Day Should Be a Holiday" Dandy Warhols Video (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 4:13 min): The song's decent, but I wish the audio track for the music video was better.
Outtakes (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 3:27 min): My only complaint about this extra is the brief runtime. You can tell everyone is having a great time making the film.
"Build Me Up Buttercup" Karaoke (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 3:03 min): In case you're surrounded by some karaoke fans, this feature plays the buttercup song with outtakes from the end of the film. Naturally, there's a small dog that assists the viewer in following the script of the song.
Behind the Zipper (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 4:35 min): Magda and Puffy host a behind-the-scenes look at the bathroom scene from the beginning of the film.
Lastly, there's a director's commentary with the Farrelly brothers and a writer's commentary with Ed Decter and John J. Strauss.
There's Something About Mary Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
As you can tell from the movie score I provided in the review, I'm rating There's Something About Mary based on my enjoyment of the film the first couple times I watched it. I may have fallen victim to an overload of this movie since it's original release, and I'd hate to reflect that element in this review of the film. For anyone who's never seen a Farrelly comedy, I'd recommend you give this a rental to see if you enjoy this type of comedy. If your among the ranks who've seen a film by the Farrelly brothers, you have a pretty good idea what your getting into and the question will come down to your ability to find lasting value in a film of this sort. From a technical standpoint, the disc is boring in every way. The visuals may result in you reaching for your glasses or playing with the focus lens on your projector, and the audio will make you wonder why you invested in surround sound. As a result, I'd only recommend this disc to die-hard fans of the film with a completist compulsion toward their Blu-ray collection.
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