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His friends would stay stop whining, they've had enough of that
His friends would say stop pining, there's other girls to look at
They tried to set him up with Tiffany and Indigo...
But there's something about Mary that they don't know...
There's Something About Mary is a 1998 romantic comedy film, directed by the Farrelly Brothers and starring Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller. Awkward and shy high-schooler Ted (Ben Stiller) lands a Prom date with his dream girl Mary (Cameron Diaz), only to have it cut short by a painfully humiliating zipper accident.
Thirteen years later, Ted is still in love -- maybe even obsessed -- with her. On the advice of his best friend Dom (Chris Elliott), he hires sleazy private detective Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) to track her down. Healy finds that she is an orthopedic surgeon living in Miami but falls in love with the irresistible Mary as well. As the film progresses, Ted and Pat compete for her affections as the roster of other suitors rapidly snowballs.
This film contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Rare Male Examples
- Anti-Villain: Pat Healy - he's a total sleazebag and will say anything to get in Mary's pants, but he actually grows to love and care for her. In fact, he thinks he's doing her a favor by stealing her from Ted, who he views as a creepy stalker.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Inverted, when Ted is falsely accused of murder, but he thinks he's only in trouble for picking up hitchhikers and unintentionally soliciting gay sex.
- Berserk Button: Never mess with Warren's ears.
- This in itself becomes a subtle, yet heartwarming, moment when Ted leaves Mary to be happy with Brett, but not before he lifts up Warren's headphones to say goodbye to him. Warren doesn't react badly. Since Mary had earlier said that Warren won't let people touch his ears unless he trusts them, it convinces Mary of her feelings for Ted.
- The Cameo: "What the hell is Brett Favre doing here?"
- Camera Sniper: When Pat is tracking Mary.
- The Chew Toy: Poor Ted gets mauled by a dog, nearly murdered by a hitchhiker, snagged on the lip by a fishhook, and beaten up by Warren. Oh, and then there's the whole zipper incident...
- Chekhov's Lecture: "Highway rest stops are the gay bath houses of the 90s."
- The conversation between Mary and her friends about "Brett". On a repeat viewings, you can catch a few clues about his identity, with one friend calling him "Pack Man" and Mary also talking about how he lived "up north."
- Cluster F-Bomb: Healy: We agreed I wouldn't fuck you, and you wouldn't fuck me until we got this....fuck outta the fuckin' picture!
- Cringe Comedy
- Crowd Song / Dance Party Ending: The whole cast singing Build Me Up Buttercup over the credits.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: The "hair gel scene".
- Devoted to You / Dude Magnet: The basis of the plot.
- Subverted because all the guys Mary attracts are creeps and weirdos.
- Except for Brett.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Ted.
- Enforced Method Acting: Ben Stiller's stretcher really was dropped as he was taken to the ambulance.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Puffy, according to Magna.
- Fan Disservice: The binocular shot of Magna topless.
- Groin Attack: The zipper incident provides the requisite Squick, although it's a self-inflicted accident. There's a more traditional example by the dog later.
- Hypocritical Humor: "You're the worst stalker of us all, man!"
- I Am One of Those, Too: When Pat tries to impress Mary by pretending to be a suave architect. Cue her architect friend. Who was also only pretending.
- I Never Told You My Name: Ted is confused on how Dom knows about the zipper incident, since he never told him. Dom does a Hand Wave to this by saying he only lived four towns away. This seems like a minor throwaway moment, but comes back later when Dom is revealed to be "Woogie", Mary's high school boyfriend prior to meeting Ted, which also shows how he knew about said incident.
- Ironic Echo: Throughout the movie, everyone takes advantage of Ted's gullibility to jerk him around, only to laugh it off by saying "I'm fucking with you!" when he believes it. At the end, Mary sincerely tells Ted that she'd be happiest with him... and his response, after a few moments, is a miserable, dejected and resigned "You're fuckin' with me, right?"
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": "Brett Fav-ruh."
- Ivy League for Everyone
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: At the end, Ted is the only one willing to do this for Mary. Her response? "But I'd be happiest with you".
- The Ladette: part of Mary's Sueification is her combining a love of golf, baseball and beer with otherwise perfect femininity.
- Love Dodecahedron: A Type 3 Triang Relation extended into a Love Dodecahedron with Mary at the center. Everybody is in love with/stalks Mary, including the main character and even football star Brett Favre. Naturally, Mary choses the main character even over Brett. (She's a Niners fan.)
- Magical Defibrillator: When Pat has to resuscitate the dog. With an electrical cable.
- Meaningful Name: Is Mary's middle name Sue?
- Pat Healy, who is indeed a heel.
- Mistaken Confession: Hitchhiking vs. murder. "How many? In my whole life? I dunno, 15/20? I don't exactly keep track..."
- Mistaken for Masturbating: Ted Stroehmann is daydreaming in the bathroom but is accused of masturbating to Mary, who is changing clothes in a room in view.
- Later averted when he really has been masturbating and Mary thinks the suspicious substance on his ear is hair gel.
- Must Make Amends: The main character is visiting Mary's house and accidentally kills her dog. And his reaction to this is to, quite literally, attempt to resuscitate the dog.
- It works, which probably means that the dog wasn't quite killed. But in an extreme comedy, anything goes.
- Oh Crap: "Is that...hair gel?"
- Off on a Technicality: Mary's architect friend, who was actually a pizza delivery boy, claimed Pat was a murderer who stayed in prison for five years until a technicality got him off. The claim was false.
- Precision F-Strike: When Tucker informs Mary of the fact that Pat Healy never went to Harvard, Healy, whos eavesdropping, launches one.
Pat Healy: FUCK!
- Refuge in Audacity: The dog fight.
- Refuge in Vulgarity: The zipper incident, the hair gel incident, the binocular incident...
- The Reveal: "Who the hell is Woogie?" Ted's friend Dom.
- And then later in the scene, Mary's saint-like ex-boyfriend "Brett" turns out to be Brett Favre.
- Sexual Karma
- She Cleans Up Nicely
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: Crossed with Greek Chorus and a Theme Tune Cameo.
- Stalker with a Crush: This seems to be the kind of guy Mary attracts.
- Stalking Is Love: With everyone!
- Star-Making Role: Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller became bankable leads after the runaway success of this film.
- Sudden Musical Ending
- Title Drop: During the Greek Chorus bits.
- Villain Protagonist: Pat Healy, somewhat.
- You Fail Your Medical Boards Forever: Mary, who is a medical doctor, mistakes semen for hair gel.
- Unwanted Harem: Deconstructed. No, it's not cool being the object of so much affection.