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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Light of his life

There's Something About Mary (1998) on IMDb

Plot Overview

“Mary, there's just something about Mary,” sing a Greek chorus in a tree, a banner: Senior Prom displayed in the back­ground. On the ground geeky high-schooler Ted Stroeh­mann (Ben Stiller) gets the run­around trying to secure a prom date. His voice-over wist­fully declares, “When I was 16-years-old, I fell in love.” A popular girl (Cameron Diaz made up to look younger) shows up (“Hey, guys!”), and Ted goes on, “Her name was Mary. She moved to our little Rhode Island town two years earlier.” One of the gawkers remarks, “What a fox!”

Somehow Ted ingratiates himself with the babe (“Thanks, Ted”) by defending a retard (“He's my brother”) Warren (W. Earl Brown) who was being bullied, which leads to “You and me, the two of us” arranging a date for the prom. The date goes south when Ted has a wardrobe malfunction. Pity.

Providence, RI. 1998. “I never saw Mary again. That was thirteen years ago.” Mary had moved away with her folks to Florida by the time Ted was released from the hospital. He still decides (“I guess I still have feelings for her”) to try to find her. His shrink warns him (“You know rest areas are homo­sexual hang­outs”) about this dangerous (“High­way rest areas, they're the bath­houses of the '90s”) venture (“Many, many, many gay men.”) His buddy Dom Woganowski (Chris Elliott) turns him on to sleazy claims investigator Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) who high­tails it down to Florida to earn his fee. Mary, surprisingly or not, has changed little. She's still popular though unattached (“I've got a vibrator.”)


Writer Paul H. Landis writes In Defense of Dating:
It is quite logical to believe that some kind of dating is necessary to the development of the judgment and pair interaction that is at the root of real objectivity in mate selec­tion. Those who have dated more than one person have a chance to compare and to learn some of the usual behavior patterns of members of the opposite sex. They learn to distinguish between those whose personalities seem to promise a durable compatibility and those whose personalities obviously do not. Dating is an explor­atory experience through which young people learn. In most circles today, therefore, it is considered desirable that young people “circulate” rather than “go steady” from the beginning, that some variety of dating experi­ence is favorable to ultimate mate choice. The girl who is considered desirable as a date by a number of fellows is presumed to be the one most likely to be sought after in marriage. (223)

Mary is socially well adjusted, starting with getting along with her mixed racial mom & step-dad, a retarded brother, and high school friends; going on to a job—as an orthopedic surgeon—where she inter­acts with people, a Florida room­mate with a pet, and various dating relations. One of her fellows tries to win her through the friend­ship route, another tries to match her interests, a third is untiringly persistent, a fourth is a sports hero, and Ted is a klutz. A pretty, perky, girl like Mary, with a broad social base finds herself attractive and in demand.

A couple lovebirds outside a window evoke some elemental romantic feelings. Let's take the Genesis model where marriage was the ideal state, (Gen. 2:18) “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God went about it thus (Gen. 2:21-22): “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” God specially made her for the man Adam, and Providence brought her to him who recognized there was something special about this woman, (Gen. 2:23) “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Further­more, in the beginning that was supposed to be a kind of precedent of a woman specifically made for (& from) her particular man, (Gen. 2:24) “There­fore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The leaving family to go out with this special one is what today we'd call dating, culminating in marriage, but in the beginning only to be practiced with that special one.

What happened next back in the Garden is what's known as The Fall, Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit to mess up all of man­kind. In this movie that's represented on prom night by Ted's trick of retrieving a ball from behind Warren's ear, Warren being sensitive about that one area and throwing Ted to the floor. Ted goes to the bath­room to relieve him­self while Mary retires to her bed­room to tidy up—like God constructing Eve. God's “closing up the flesh instead thereof” when he was fixing up Adam's helper is represented here, after “the fall”, by Ted getting his junk caught in his zipper. The “deep sleep” is being trans­ported on a gurney by ambulance to the hospital. The fall of man was an utter disaster that affected the easy availability of that one special one for every man. Lusts have entered in making it hard to sort out who is for whom, much less win her.

The scriptural plan is developed in (Esther 2:2-4) “Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: … and let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen.” The king is going to select from a large group of maidens whom he will meet individually day by day: (Esther 2:14) “In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned …: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.” So the ones of these he liked, he called to make dates with. The one he settled on he married, (Esther 2:17) “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head.” That's more or less the chaste plan Mary followed in the movie about her, albeit in a reversed sex role.

Production Values

This movie, “There's Something About Mary” (1998) was directed by the Farrelly Brothers: Bobby and Peter. The screenplay was written by Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, and Peter & Bobby Farrelly. It stars Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans, and Chris Elliot who are all fantastic in the film and exhibit perfect comedic timing. Cameron Diaz's performance is perfect because she is genuinely sweet, tender and funny, not to mention sexy. There was great support from Matt Dillon who hams it up outside of his usual range. Stiller plays well in his usual role. Catch the end credit sequence for a sing-along.

MPAA rated it R for strong comic sexual content and language. The movie is any­thing but politically correct or in any way delicate. It's vulgar yet sincere in the story­telling.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

Overall this is a trashy, low-brow comedy featuring a succession of gags that make it hilarious from start to finish. It strikes just the right note to encourage us mere mortals to succeed romantically in a profoundly fallen world. It has my highest recommendation for mature audiences.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations from the Authorized King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

Landis, Paul H. Making the Most of Marriage. New York: Meredith Publishing, 1965. Print.