Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reminded of “What If’s?” in
There's Something About Mary

Ted and Mary awkwardly date after reuniting as adults after 13 years since high school. In the end, the guy gets the girl, and the girl gets her knight in shining armor.

This week, hidden among the complex menu of the “On Demand” TV shows is the movie, “There’s Something About Mary.”

TV On Demand
Channel: 304 Brighthouse Orlando
Network: FX
Movies: About Mary

Originally released in 1998, the movie speaks of the eternal unrequited love it seems we all carry buried within our hearts. While in high school, a dorky young man, Ted, falls for Mary, a radiantly beautiful girl, and though he manages to win her over through his valiant defense of her disabled brother, a romantic relationship never truly comes to fruition. The two go their separate ways until thirteen years later, when Ted bravely decides to hire a private investigator and get in touch with Mary to see where life has taken her and “what if,” by chance, there’s still some spark – and some chance -- between them. Despite believing that she now has four children with different fathers, weighs 250 lbs, and is on her way to get married in Japan, he is still determined to go with his heart and seek her out in Miami. Now, that’s love, baby! Writers Ed Decter and John Strauss’s plot is one that even William Shakespeare would have been proud to have written.

There’s really nothing to pick apart in this movie.

From a girl’s point of view, it’s a winner on the romantic, teary eyed, “that’s so sweet,” point of view. Face it girls, we all want to be Mary. We all want to be “that girl,” the girl who everyone is in love with, from superstar Brett Favre to the pizza delivery man. We all secretly hope for a knight in shining armor: a wonderful guy out there who’s been harboring an obsession over us for a dozen years who’s willing to fight for us.

From a guy’s point of view, the movie offers over-the-top hilarity in every scene – from the zipper incident, to the jail cell, to the mistaken hair gel – to the subtle comedic details, such as the family portrait featuring Mary’s Dad in a giant afro. Men like the idea that Ted is an “average” guy, that he makes mistakes, takes bad advice, is far too trusting, and really isn’t special in any way shape or form other than simply being “a nice guy.” Despite his average appearance and mid career “haven’t-gotten-there-yet” stage in life, he “gets the girl” in the end, anyway.

The cast is thoughtfully chosen and packed to the brim with comedic talent, with Cameron Diaz as Mary; Ben Stiller as Ted; Matt Dillon as sleezy private detective Pat; Lee Evans as the crippled architect; Lin Shaye as golden girl Magda; W. Earl Brown as Mary’s brother Warren; and Chris Elliott as hive-struck Dom. More familiar faces pop up in each scene. Even Magda's dog Fluffy is adorable!

The music score is well derived, and cleverly complemented by a pair of narrating strumming minstrels, guitarist/singer Jonathan Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins, who change instruments throughout each appearance and become an integral part of the plot at the end of the picture.

Directors Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (the Farrelly Brothers) have carefully staged each scene to be both entertaining and sweet. The movie is set in picturesquely lush and colorful Miami, FL.

The On Demand movie runs roughly 2 hours and is sprinkled with short commercial breaks, mostly trailers for other comedy movies. On Demand has fewer commercials (knock on polyvinyl chloride plastic) and you have the added advantage of watching it when you want, rewinding, and pausing when needed.

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