There's Something About Mary

From Academic Kids

There's Something About Mary, released in 1998 by 20th Century Fox, is a combination of romantic comedy and gross-out film directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (the Farrelly brothers). It stars Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, and Matt Dillon. This sleeper hit was the third highest grossing movie of 1998—the highest grossing comedy—and it catapulted Stiller into the limelight.

There's Something About Mary placed 27th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (see the 100 Years Series), a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century.

Plot

Although an awkward and shy high-schooler, Ted (Ben Stiller) lands a prom date with his dream girl Mary (Cameron Diaz), just to have it cut short by a humiliating zipper accident. Thirteen years later he's still in love—maybe even obsessed—with the one that got away, so he hires sleazy private detective Pat (Matt Dillon) to track her down, only to have Pat fall for the irresistible Mary as well. Ted and Pat resort to lying, cheating and stalking in their competition for Mary, and discover that they're not the only men (or women) who will use depraved measures to be near her.

The movie's over-the-top and sometimes disturbing gross-out humor earned it an R rating, but made it a smash hit at the box office. The most notorious scene—which was the subject of much criticism—features Stiller's character masturbating and losing track of his ejaculate. Diaz's character notices it clinging to his ear, mistakes it for extra hair gel, and spreads it in her own hair. The "hair gel" scene spread by word of mouth, and later ads for the movie capitalized on its notoriety. Coincidentally, filmmaker Kevin Smith shot a similar scene for Mallrats in which Jay and Silent Bob ejaculate over a dressing room wall and into the hair of Joey Lauren Adams. The scene was cut after being deemed tasteless by the studio. Smith apparently regrets this decision and has since noted that "cum in the hair is gold".

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