There's Something About Mary

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There's Something About Mary
There's Something About Mary POSTER.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Farrelly
Bobby Farrelly
Screenplay byEd Decter
John J. Strauss
Peter Farrelly
Bobby Farrelly
Story byEd Decter
John J. Strauss
Produced byMichael Steinberg
Bradley Thomas
Charles B. Wessler
Frank Beddor
Narrated byJonathan Richman
CinematographyMark Irwin
Edited byChristopher Greenbury
Music byJonathan Richman
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 15, 1998 (1998-07-15)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$23 million[2]
Box office$369.9 million[2]

There's Something About Mary is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly. It stars Cameron Diaz as the title character with Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans and Chris Elliott all playing men who are in love with Mary, and vying for her affections.

There's Something About Mary was released theatrically on July 15, 1998, by 20th Century Fox. It received generally positive reviews from critics who praised its humor and Diaz's performance. The film became a major box office success, grossing over $369 million worldwide against its $23 million budget, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year. It is placed 27th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century. In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted There's Something About Mary the fourth-greatest comedy film of all time.

Diaz won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, an MTV Movie Award for Best Performance, an American Comedy Award for Best Actress, a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Actress. Her performance additionally was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It won four out of eight MTV Movie Awards, including Best Movie.


In 1985, 16-year-old high school student Theodore "Ted" Stroehmann is about to go on a prom date with his dream girl Mary Jensen when he gets his scrotum stuck in his zipper. He is hospitalized after managing to painfully unzip it, which cancels their date. Ted subsequently loses contact with Mary.

Thirteen years later in 1998, 29-year-old Ted is still in love with Mary. On the advice of his best friend Dom Woganowski, Ted hires private investigator Pat Healy to track her down. Healy discovers that she is an orthopedic surgeon living in Miami, and spending time with her friends and her neighbor Magda. After observing her for a few days, Healy becomes fixated with Mary. He returns to Providence and lies to Ted about Mary, telling him that she is overweight and has four kids by three different men. Healy quits his job and returns to Miami to pursue her. He resorts to lying, cheating, and stalking to win Mary over. They spend several weeks dating before Mary's friend Tucker, a British architect who uses crutches due to serious spine damage, exposes him as a fraud. Healy is enraged after eavesdropping on Tucker, who lies about Healy being a serial murderer. After subsequently tailing Tucker, Healy discovers him to be a fraud himself: he is an able-bodied American pizza delivery boy named Norm Phipps, who is also infatuated with Mary. Years earlier, Norm intentionally injured himself in order to get close to Mary, hoping that she would take him on as a patient. Although his injury has long since healed, he pretends to be disabled in order to gain Mary's sympathy, and he uses his friendship with her to drive away any potential romantic rivals.

Meanwhile, Ted finds out from one of his old classmates that Healy was lying about Mary. He then drives down to Florida to see her. During the drive down, Ted picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a mass murderer. The murderer leaves a body in Ted's car when Ted is unintentionally caught with a group of gay men while he tries to urinate. Ted is mistakenly arrested for the murder and bailed out by Dom after the police catch the real killer. After Ted finds Mary, they begin dating. He seems to have won her love until an anonymous letter exposes his connection with Pat, and she breaks contact with him. Ted confronts Pat and Norm, and Mary is accosted by Dom, who is revealed to be her ex-boyfriend "Woogie", whom she has a restraining order against, and was the one who sent the letter. He wants to reconnect with her as well, which she quickly refuses, so he tries to steal her shoes to satisfy his shoe fetish.

Ted, Norm, and Pat arrive, and, when Mary is finally together with all of her deceitful suitors, Ted realizes that the only one who did not resort to lying or manipulation to win over Mary was an ex-boyfriend named Brett, who he learns is National Football League quarterback Brett Favre. Norm had previously confessed to Ted that he lied to Mary about Brett insulting her brother Warren (who lives with an intellectual disability), which was why she ended the relationship. After reuniting Brett and Mary, Ted leaves tearfully until Mary catches up to Ted, saying "I'd be happiest with you". Mary and Ted kiss while singer/songwriter Jonathan Richman, who has periodically narrated the story in song throughout the film, is accidentally shot by Magda's boyfriend, who was trying to shoot Ted as he was also infatuated with Mary.



There's Something About Mary was directed by Peter Farrelly, who had previously worked on Dumb and Dumber in 1994 and Kingpin in 1996.[3] According to Bobby Farrelly, the scene where Ted accidentally gets his scrotum stuck in his pants fly was inspired by a real incident, when their sister was listening to some records with some eighth grade students in the basement of their house: "One of the kids went up [to the bathroom] and he zipped himself up. He was in there for a long time. My dad, who was a doctor, actually had to go in and say, 'Hey, kid. You alright?'"[3] Most of the film was shot in Miami, Florida. The Big Pink Restaurant is where Healy meets with Sully and the Miami-Dade Cultural Center was the location for the architecture exhibit Mary and Healy attended together. The hair gel scene was filmed at the Cardozo Hotel, while Churchill's Pub was used as a strip club for a scene with Healy.[4] The makeup effects were the handiwork of makeup effects designer Tony Gardner.[5]

Besides Ben Stiller, actors Owen Wilson, Jon Stewart and Jim Carrey were considered potential candidates for the role of Ted Stroehmann.[6] Bill Murray was considered for the role of Pat Healy, but the Farrelly brothers thought he was too old for it.[7] Vince Vaughn and Cuba Gooding Jr. were also considered for the role of Pat Healy.[8] Because the Farrelly brothers were fans of the New England Patriots, they originally wanted to cast quarterback Drew Bledsoe as Mary's football-playing boyfriend, but he could not do it due to a mosh incident he had in a club. The Farrelly brothers later offered the role to Steve Young, but he turned it down due to the film's coarse nature. Ultimately, the role was given to Brett Favre.[9] Chris Farley was considered for the role of Mary’s brother Warren.

Reception [edit]

There's Something About Mary was 1998's third highest-grossing film in North America as well as the fourth highest-grossing film of the year globally. The film made $369 million worldwide on a budget of $23 million, with $176 million coming from the U.S. and Canada.[2] It was released in the United Kingdom on September 25, 1998, and topped the country's box office for the next two weekends.[10][11]

The film received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 83% based on 84 reviews, and an average rating of 7.06/10, with the consensus: "There's Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly puerile humor doesn't necessarily come at the expense of a film's heart."[12] Metacritic gives the film a score of 69 out of 100 based on reviews from 29 critics.[13]

Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars, stating "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."[14]

Gene Siskel ranked the film number 9 on his 10 Best films of 1998 (the final "best of" list he did before passing away).

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. "There's Something About Mary" (Jonathan Richman) – 1:47
  2. "How to Survive a Broken Heart" (Ben Lee) – 2:47
  3. "Every Day Should Be a Holiday" (The Dandy Warhols) – 4:02
  4. "Everything Shines" (The Push Stars) – 2:27
  5. "This Is the Day" (Ivy) – 3:33
  6. "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" (Joe Jackson) – 3:36
  7. "True Love Is Not Nice" (Jonathan Richman) – 2:13
  8. "History Repeating" (The Propellerheads feat. Shirley Bassey) – 4:04
  9. "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You" (The Lemonheads) – 2:51
  10. "Mary's Prayer" (Danny Wilson) – 3:54
  11. "Margo's Waltz" (Lloyd Cole) – 4:01
  12. "Speed Queen" (Zuba) – 3:44
  13. "Let Her Go Into the Darkness" (Jonathan Richman) – 1:19
  14. "Build Me Up Buttercup" (The Foundations) – 2:59[19]


  1. ^ "THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1998-07-22. Archived from the original on 2021-07-13. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  2. ^ a b c "There's Something About Mary". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on October 27, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  3. ^ a b King, Susan (July 14, 2018). "'There's Something About Mary' at 20: Cameron Diaz, the Farrelly Brothers on 'Hair Gel' Scene and Other Raunchy Gags". Variety. Archived from the original on July 14, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Goyanes, Ily (September 1, 2010). "Celluloid City: There's Something About Mary Filmed at Churchill's Pub and Big Pink". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on January 11, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Lee, Chris (September 26, 2004). "One of the tops in the trade". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Smith, Patrick (December 18, 2014). "Peter Farrelly interview: 'Jon Stewart was nearly the lead in There's Something About Mary'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  7. ^ Evans, Bradford (February 17, 2011). "The Lost Roles of Bill Murray". Archived from the original on October 30, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Evans, Bradford (July 26, 2012). "The Lost Roles of Vince Vaughn". Vulture.
  9. ^ Brinson, Will (November 5, 2014). "Brett Favre was third 'Something About Mary' choice behind Bledsoe". Archived from the original on July 10, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  10. ^ "Weekend box office 25th September 1998 - 27th September 1998". Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Weekend box office 2nd October 1998 - 4th October 1998". Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  12. ^ "There's Something About Mary". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  13. ^ "There's Something About Mary". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 15, 1998). "There's Something About Mary". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  16. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  17. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees (10th Anniversary Edition)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  18. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "There's Something about Mary Soundtrack". 1998-07-14. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2013-01-15.

External links[edit]