There's Something About Mary: Collector's Edition (1998)

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Released 18-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Peter And Bobby Farrelly (Directors)
Audio Commentary-Ed Decter And John Strauss (Writers)
Audio Commentary-Peter And Bobby Farrelly (Directors)
Alternative Version-Theatrical Or Extended Version
Alternative Version-Clay Animated Titles
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Getting Behind Mary, Behind The Zipper
Featurette-Backstory: There's Something About Mary
Featurette-Comedy Central: Reel Comedy
Featurette-Best Fight: Ben Stiller And Puffy The Dog
Gallery-Poster-Theatrical
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Exposing Themselves, Puffy,Boobs And Balls
Featurette-Up A Tree With Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins
Featurette-Franks & Beans And Touchdown: A Conversation With ...
Featurette-Interview Roulette With Harland Williams
Alternate Audio-Around The World With Mary
Karaoke-Build Me Up Buttercup
Music Video-The Dandy Warhols: Every Day Should Be A Holiday
Outtakes-Around The World With Mary
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 124:42 (Case: 114)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:36)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Version Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bobby Farrelly
Peter Farrelly
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Cameron Diaz
Matt Dillon
Ben Stiller
Lee Evans
Chris Elliott
Lin Shaye
Jeffrey Tambor
Markie Post
Keith David
W. Earl Brown
Sarah Silverman
Khandi Alexander
Marnie Alexenburg
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Ben Lee
Tony Macaulay
Jonathan Richman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes, song/dance routine through end credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In 1998, the Farrelly Brothers released their third feature film on an unsuspecting world. Following up their earlier success with Dumb and Dumber, it garnered a lot of publicity at the time for one reason or another (not the least of which was the infamous "Franks and Beans" incident), and ended up making a lot of money for the studio. I, however, was one of the few people who never went to see it, and hence I came to this DVD review as a complete virgin to this Farrelly outing.

    This second release of the film on DVD has both the original theatrical release as well as an extended edition with extra scenes re-inserted via seamless branching (hence the alternative title There's Something More About Mary that this DVD has been given). I should add here that the branching really is seamless, unlike some Region 4 releases that claim the same. I watched both versions, but since there really isn't much that's changed, this summary pretty much covers the both of them.

    Ok, well I guess you're actually reading this section to get a plot synopsis, so I best get on with it. The film starts back in the glorious 1980s with Ted (Ben Stiller) a geeky senior high student, and Mary (Cameron Diaz) the most gorgeous girl in school. Ted gets asked to the senior prom by Mary because he helps out her intellectually disabled brother at school, but the prom night doesn't go as planned, with the hapless Ted being carted off to hospital before they even get to the event.

    Mary and Ted go their separate ways without seeing each other again, and 13 years on he still dreams about her and wonders if he really did let the big one get away. Prompted by an old friend, Ted hires a sleazy private detective, Pat Healy (played brilliantly by Matt Dillon) to try and find out where Mary is, and if she's still available. Healy finds her down in Miami, but decides he wants Mary for himself, so fobs Ted off with a bunch of lies and moves to Miami to work his sleazy magic.

    Eventually Ted decides to go down to Florida anyway, and find out once and for all if he and Mary were meant for each other. It turns out that there are more men after the vivacious Mary than at first we're lead to believe, and much back-stabbing, conniving and lying ensues in attempts to steal her affections. Throw in a psychotic dog, a fanatical sun-tanning old lady (Lin Shaye), a whole lot of intellectually disabled people, lots of crass, politically incorrect jokes, and you have what has now become trademark Farrelly fare.

    If you're a fan of the Farrelly brothers' work then you'll no doubt enjoy this offering, which has some great performances from the lead actors. Diaz is her old fresh, infectious self (which seems to be wearing off, if the latest Charlie's Angels is anything to go by), Stiller gives a decent performance although not his best ever, and Dillon is excellent as the slimy PI (his super-whitened teeth were one of the few things that made me laugh out loud).

    Having said all that though, if you're not a fan of humour that just takes things too far in the grossness stakes, then this won't appeal to you nearly as much. I fall largely into this category, and so I was disappointed that a film which had genuinely funny moments in it, and some clever writing, had to keep resorting to high-school, giggling-in-the-corner crass humour. Overall, despite some good moments, it left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

    No doubt the majority of people reading this review have already seen the movie though, and will be wondering if the extended edition is worth the purchase of this DVD. For its added 10 minutes, I'd have to say there really isn't much incentive to double-dip, even for fans of the film. It's pretty much just a little bit more of the same, with the highlights being an extended fight between Ted and Puffy, and an arc for Jeffrey Tambor's character. However, read on to see if there are other factors that will make you want to re-purchase this DVD set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    You can read Michael D's review of the original edition by clicking here, and from his statements on the video quality I'd say there wasn't much room for improvement in this new edition. I haven't got the original to do a comparison, but I can say that this transfer is also of reference quality, and hence it may well be the same transfer (extended scenes aside, of course).

    This transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is spot on, with excellent detail visible in both foreground and background. Blacks are solid with no low-level noise, and shadow detail is great. Both these qualities can be seen in the dark scenes at 30:22 and 49:25.

    Colours at times feel like they are jumping out of the screen at you. Some of the earlier scenes are softer due to the location, but once we get to Miami there are vivid blues and greens in the outdoor scenery, as well as bright clothing that shows no signs of bleeding. Skin tones are also spot-on.

    There is a marked absence of any noticeable edge enhancement or aliasing, which is impressive given the sharpness of the transfer. Film artefacts are also absent.

    There are 4 subtitle streams: English for the Hearing Impaired, Swedish, English Audio Commentary, and English Audio Commentary. I sampled the English ones and found the first to be very accurate and the commentary streams to also be similarly accurate. I think having subtitles for commentaries is a great idea, and am glad that more DVDs seem to be offering this option these days.

    The layer change occurs at the 56:40 mark (64:36 in the extended cut), and although noticeable, is pretty well placed right at the end of a line by Ben Stiller, and just before a shot transition.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This isn't the sort of film that you'd really expect to make outstanding use of the 5.1 audio format, but they've done a pretty good job of utilizing it as best as possible.

    There are 4 tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I listened to all the tracks.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. There were no sync problems either, except during some of the songs that Jonathan Richman sings onscreen. There's mention made in some of the extras as to how bad he is at doing lip sync work, but no apologies are given.

    Music is a mixture of songs from the era, as well as a very catchy theme tune sung onscreen by Jonathan Richman, who also pops up in a number of other scenes to sing a little bit of exposition. I'd say the music is perfectly suited to the type of film, and the musical montages work a treat.

    Surrounds aren't as active as they would be in your standard action blockbuster, which is to be expected, but they are used to place you quite effectively in the film, with ambient sounds, as well as helicopter engines, race car engines, and music all coming from your rear left and right speakers.

    The subwoofer really doesn't have a whole lot to do, but does add bass to the music and the occasional sound effect (such as flames).

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    Menus are 16x9 enhanced, animated, with music looping in the background, and a short intro before you get to the main menu.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary - Peter and Bobby Farrelly (co-directors)

    This is actually the original commentary from the earlier DVD release of the film, but with new comments added in for all the extra scenes. If you've seen the original release then you know what to expect - the two talk pretty much non-stop throughout the runtime, telling lots of stories about the cast, crew, shooting, getting the movie made, cameos, extras, sets, costumes, story evolution and so on. A lot of this information is people-related, as these two seem to have no end of friends involved in their films. Definitely easy to listen to, and also pretty informative about both the movie and the directors themselves.

Audio Commentary - Ed Decter and John J Strauss (writers)

    This commentary is available only when watching the theatrical cut of the movie, and although informative is not as worthwhile a listen as the other commentary. The writers talk rather too much about the Farrellys, and continually heap praise on them and go on about how well they made their script into a movie. It gets a bit much at times, as do the really obvious explanations of what is going on on-screen. Having said all that though, there is also a lot of info here for budding script-writers, including how they came up with the idea for the movie, script-writing structure and rules, and how they got into the writing business (both movie and TV). Certainly not an awful commentary, but it could have done with a little less butt-kissing.

Additional Commentary - Farrelly Brothers (29:07)

    This isn't a feature-length commentary, but rather some comments on specific topics played over fairly unrelated segments of the movie. They are as follows:

There's the option to play each segment separately, or all in one go. I'd recommend listening to them all, as it does give a lot of insight into how these two brothers go about making movies.

Alternative Opening Credits - Claymation Credits

    2 minutes of claymation credits that were created as an alternative to the existing ones, in case they didn't really "work" with audiences. These were basically created as a backup that wasn't needed.

Disc 2

    Please note that all extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, unless otherwise stated.

Featurette - Getting Behind Mary (43:45)

    A substantial look at the shooting stage of the movie-making process, with short intros from the main actors. We get to see how the directors and cast work in actually creating certain scenes, including the rehearsals, shooting, discussions about what will work in a scene, and so on. Very much a fly-on-the-wall sort of featurette which is done very well.

Featurette - Backstory (20:51)

    A quick potted history of the movie, and how it came into being. This extra was created by Fox Star TV and is very much a promotional piece.

Featurette - Comedy Central Reel Comedy (21:32)

    Actor Harland Williams interviews the main cast from the movie, and basically just goofs around (including some shenanigans with a lie-detector). Another promotional piece with not a lot of substance to it, but it does have its moments. Williams is one weird guy, but he does this sort of thing very well, and asks questions you wouldn't normally expect in these kinds of extras.

Featurette - Best Fight: Ben Stiller and Puffy the Dog (3:06)

    A short segment taken from the MTV movie awards, where Stiller explains that Puffy was actually all CGI, and then goes into a mockumentary about the people involved in bringing the computer-generated dog to life. Quite amusing actually, especially after seeing so many extras on DVDs where we're looking at monitors and interviewing computer programmers.

Marketing Mary - Promotional Material

    This section includes the 2:20 theatrical trailer (presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced), as well as 7 posters promoting the film.

Featurette - Exposing Themselves (14:28)

    Interviews with Diaz, Dillon, Stiller, and Chris Elliot reminiscing about the making of the film, all of which are quite interesting. There is a lot of back-slapping and talk of how much fun it was to make the movie, but you get the feeling that this sentiment is actually a bit more genuine than a lot of the promotional fluff that appears on DVDs these days.

Featurette - Up a Tree with Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins (11:38)

    An interview segment with the two musicians who wrote/sung the theme song for the movie, covering all manner of topics. This extra starts with some people raving about what a great band they are, and what an impact they've had on the music industry. If you're interested in the band this will be an interesting watch, otherwise it's probably of questionable value.

Featurette - Franks and Beans: A Conversation with W. Earl Brown (5:24)

    The actor who plays Warren in the film discusses how he came to develop the character, who he was based on and how he got the actions down pat.

Featurette - Touchdown: A Conversation with Brett Favre (5:39)

    Brett Favre talks about his experiences with There's Something About Mary. It's quite interesting to hear his thoughts on the subject actually, as he doesn't seem at all enthused about his very small contribution. He seems surprisingly down-to-earth for an American football superstar.

Featurette - Interview Roulette with Harland Williams (6:52)

    More weirdness with Williams, as he answers questions with some really bizarre answers. There's something strangely fascinating about the way this guy's mind "works".

Featurette - Puffy, Boobs and Balls (10:52)

    Designer Tony Gardner and actress Lin Shaye talk about varied topics such as how she got the part, how the makeup and prosthetics were done for herself and others in the film, and how Puffy the dog was done.

Featurette - Behind the Zipper (4:37)

    A short item which was made around the time of the film's release, where Magda (Lin Shaye) talks about the medical/psychological/legal implications of someone really having a nasty accident with their zipper (or fly if you're Australian). Of mediocre quality in the comedy department.

Around the World With Mary (5:31)

    The final scenes of the movie with the option of switching between English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Thai, and Turkish soundtracks.

"Build Me Up Buttercup" Karaoke (3:05)

    Pretty self-explanatory really. The scenes taken from the end credits with the cast and crew singing the song, with all the lyrics appearing on screen for a little bit of karaoke action.

Music Video - Every Day Should be a Holiday (4:04)

    Music video for the Dandy Warhols' song that appears briefly in the movie.

Outtakes (3:24)

    Your usual bloopers, separated into shots of the individual actors and the crew. Pretty mediocre stuff as far as outtakes go.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Besides the language and PAL/NTSC differences, the two versions are pretty much the same. If you're really into TV spots then you'll want to import, otherwise go with the local version.

Summary

    A movie that I found to be disappointing despite some clever writing and actual heart to the story. However, I realise that the box-office receipts indicate that I'm in the minority, and if you're a fan of the Farrelly brothers and don't mind a liberal dose of crassness in your humour then you'll no doubt enjoy this. For fans of the film who are wondering whether to purchase this over the earlier DVD release, I'd say it depends on a few factors. If you haven't already purchased the first release then it's a no-brainer, but if you do have the other copy I think it really comes down to how much you like extras. The extended edition of the movie isn't enough reason to double-dip, but the extensive and comprehensive extras would certainly make it a worthy purchase if you're someone who puts a lot of value in such things.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio transfer is more than good enough for a comedy which doesn't rely on big explosions and loud cars.

    Although not all the extras are of the same quality, there is a plethora of info here that will keep any Mary fan occupied for a good long time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

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