We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
What a blessed relief is laughter. It flies in the face of manners, values, political correctness and decorum. It exposes us for what we are, the only animal with a sense of humor. "There's Something About Mary" is an unalloyed exercise in bad taste, and contains five or six explosively funny sequences. OK, five explosive, one moderate.
I love it when a movie takes control, sweeps away my doubts and objections, and compels me to laugh. I'm having a physical reaction, not an intellectual one. There's such freedom in laughing so loudly. I feel cleansed.
"There's Something About Mary" is the latest work by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, brothers whose earlier credits include "Dumb and Dumber" and "Kingpin." Good taste is not their strong suit. "Dumb and Dumber" includes a scene where a blind boy realizes his parakeet's head is held on with Scotch tape. "Kingpin" includes a scene where a bowler's artificial hand gets stuck in the ball and rolls down the alley, flop flop flop.
Now here is a movie about a woman who is beautiful, sunny, good and pure, and inspires a remarkable array of creeps to fall in love with her. There's ... just something about her. Mary is played by Cameron Diaz as a high school knockout who amazes the geeky Ted (Ben Stiller) by asking him to the prom, even though he has pounds of braces on his teeth. ("I have a thing about braces," she muses, long after.) Ted turns up proudly for the date, only to set off the first of the movie's uproariously funny sequences when he asks to use the toilet and then somehow catches in his zipper that part of the male anatomy one least wants to think about in connection with zippers. ("Is it the frank or the beans?" asks Mary's solicitous stepfather.) In a lesser film, that would be that: The directors would expect us to laugh at his misfortune, and the plot would roll on. Not the Farrelly Brothers. When they get something going, they keep on building, daring themselves to top each outrage. I won't reveal how the scene develops, apart from noting the perfect timing involved with the unexpected closeup.