There's Something About Mary

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 4:3, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - Peter Farrelly (Co-Director/Co-Writer) & Bobby Farrelly (Co-Director/Co-Writer)
Running Time 114:15 minutes Other Extras Menu Animation & Audio
Music Video - Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Featurette - Behind The Zipper (4:40)
Karaoke - Build Me Up Buttercup
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (57:13)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Bobby Farrelly
Peter Farrelly

Fox Home Video
Starring Cameron Diaz
Matt Dillon
Ben Stiller
Lee Evans
Chris Elliott
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Jonathan Richman

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles Czech
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes, extremely
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    IN SHORT: The Farrelly Brothers do Romantic Comedy.

    There's Something About Mary is 20th Century Fox's second international DVD release, following up on their earlier release of Titanic. The movie is directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, who were responsible for movies such as Dumb & Dumber and Kingpin. This should give you some indication of what to expect about the comedy in this movie. It is gross, crass and politically incorrect. For the full house that I saw the movie theatrically with, it was hysterically funny. Personally, I thought it was just plain offensive. My opinion of this movie, however, is in the minority.

    Mary (Cameron Diaz) is the best-looking girl in school. Ted (Ben Stiller) is a nerd. One day, Ted intercedes in an incident between a fellow student and Warren (W. Earl Brown) who is intellectually disabled and who unbeknownst to Ted is Mary's brother. The nett result of this act of good samaritanism is that Ted gets a date with Mary to the Senior Prom.

    Unfortunately, at Mary's house to pick her up for the Prom, Ted has some difficulty with his zipper which left both halves of the audience I saw this movie with in tears; one half in tears of laughter, and the other half in tears of sympathy and pain.

    We fast-forward 13 years, and Ted is still thinking about Mary, and at the encouragement of his best friend, Dom (Chris Elliott), he hires a private investigator named Healy (Matt Dillon) to find her. Healy finds her in Miami, but decides that she is too attractive for Ted and wants her all to himself. Ted heads to Miami as well, where an assortment of characters awaits; Tucker (Lee Evans), a disabled architect; Magda (Lin Shaye), Mary's sun-loving roommate; and Puffy the dog.

    Transfer Quality


    I was disappointed with the video transfer of Titanic, and in particular was disappointed with the lack of 16x9 enhancement of this title, so it was with some trepidation that I watched There's Something About Mary. I am pleased to report that I was very pleasantly surprised with the video quality on offer with this title. Fox have redeemed themselves, providing us with an exceptionally good video transfer which is of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Unlike Titanic before it, this disc is 16x9 enhanced, and it shows.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear at all times, with tremendous amounts of clarity and detail in the image. Shadow detail was excellent and there was no low level noise.

    The colours were beautifully rendered, with deeply saturated and bright colours throughout. Large splashes of colour frequently abound with not even a hint of colour bleeding.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. No film artefacts were seen.

    This disc is an RSDL disc with the layer change placed unobtrusively at 57:13, within Chapter 15.


    Whilst the video transfer of this movie is of reference quality, the same cannot be said of the audio transfer. However, this is almost certainly due to deficiencies in the source materials rather than any problem with the transfer itself.

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD; the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0. I listened to both soundtracks.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.

    Audio sync was problematic on both players that I used for this review. On a Pioneer DV-505, the audio sync was just noticeably out at all times, and quite significantly out at times. On a Noriko DVD-390K, the audio sync was generally correct, but there were frequent times when it was marginally and annoyingly noticeably out of sync. The Farrelly Brothers make specific reference to the problems of audio sync in their commentary, and to quote them - "we don't care". I take it by these comments that insufficient attention was paid to this detail of the movie during post-production leaving us with a less-than-ideal soundtrack in this area.

    The somewhat quirky score was by Jonathan Richman. It suited the movie's overall tone nicely.

    The surround channels were basically silent. Fundamentally, this movie had dialogue emanating from the center speaker and music from the left and right front speakers. Very rarely, a small amount of music emanated from the rear speakers, but this is basically not much more than a mono soundtrack with stereo music.

    The .1 channel did nothing as far as I could tell.


    There are a very good selection of extras on this disc.


    The main menu features some cheesy but highly appropriate animation and audio, and this theme is carried through the Special Features menu as well.

Audio Commentary - Peter Farrelly (Co-Director/Co-Writer) & Bobby Farrelly (Co-Director/Co-Writer)

    This is an entertaining and informative commentary that left me amazed at just how many friends and relatives of the Farrelly Brothers made it into this movie.

Theatrical Trailer

Music Video - Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations

Featurette - Behind The Zipper

    This featurette promises much but ultimately delivers little, though you do get to see the model...

Karaoke - Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations

    A Karaoke-styled version of the music video.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     There is no doubt in my mind that the best version of this disc is the Region 4 disc, with the extra resolution afforded by the 16x9 enhancement more than making up for the missing gag reel.


    There's Something About Mary is crude and offensive. Whilst not exactly to my taste, many people find it exceedingly funny.

    The video quality is excellent, and is of reference quality.

    The audio quality is very ordinary.

    The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
4th November 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Noriko DVD-390K and Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer