When the Farrelly brothers started working on a romantic comedy, a lot of their fans might have thought they were going soft. These guys were the first name in gross-out comedy, thanks to the slapstick gags and scatological humor in Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin. They’d become famous for making outrageous movies that pushed the boundaries of political correctness, so it seemed like a shame that they were wasting their talents on a love story. However, as it turned out, they were making a romantic comedy in the most Farrelly brothers way possible.
10 “Oh, man! How’d you get the beans above the frank?”
When people think about There’s Something About Mary, without a doubt, the first scene that springs to mind is the early flashback in which Ted takes Mary to prom – or tries to. While he’s in the bathroom, he ends up getting his crotch stuck in his zipper. In the end, the cops and the fire brigade have to get involved. We only see a couple of brief closeup shots of Ted’s injury, with most of the comedy left up to other people’s reactions. Mary’s stepfather looks at it and says, “Oh, man! How’d you get the beans above the frank?”
9 “Is that...Is that hair gel?”
The second scene that comes to mind is likely the one in which Ted gets some, y’know, stuff stuck behind his ear right before Mary shows up for their date. He can’t find the, y’know, stuff to get rid of it, so he has no choice but to answer the door with that stuff somewhere in his room.
He doesn’t realize it’s hanging off his ear until Mary spots it and asks, “Is that...Is that hair gel?” Since he doesn’t want to reveal what it actually is and he can’t think of anything else, Mary ends up grabbing some of it and slicking her hair back with it.
8 “Getting your d**k stuck in your zipper was the best thing that ever happened to you.”
Chris Elliott is great in There’s Something About Mary – just like he is in everything – in the role of Dom Woganowski, Ted’s best friend who also later turns out to be his love rival. As Ted considers tracking down Mary and seeing if he can get back together with the one that got away, his friend sums up the premise of the film by saying, “Here, you’ve been in therapy, you know, thinking you blew it with the greatest girl ever, and really, it turns out that getting your d**k stuck in your zipper was the best thing that ever happened to you.”
7 “Have you seen my wiener?”
A lot of the humor involving Mary’s brother Warren in There’s Something About Mary borders on cruel, but the movie makes it perfectly clear that making fun of disabled people is wrong and we never look down on Warren, so it’s not all bad. As Warren goes around asking after his baseball, one of the jocks says, “Hey, buddy! I think I know where your ball is...You see that girl over there? She’s got it. Only she doesn’t call it a baseball, she’s got another name for it.” He whispers in Warren’s ear and Warren goes over to the girl and asks, “Have you seen my wiener?”
6 “Who needs him? I’ve got a vibrator!”
No one would say that There’s Something About Mary is a feminist film – in fact, a lot of people would say the exact opposite – but there are a couple of moments that empower women. The premise of a group of guys pining after one woman is a little creepy, but the movie shows it to be creepy, and Mary is shown to be able to handle herself. Plus, it’s pretty cool that she has that kind of power over these guys. At one point, when she’s discussing whether or not she needs a man in her life, she says, “Who needs him? I’ve got a vibrator!”
5 “Step into my office.” “Why?” “‘Cause you’re f**kin’ fired!”
While Ted is driving down to Miami to catch up with Mary, he picks up a hitchhiker for some company. The hitchhiker pitches him an idea for “seven-minute abs,” a quicker alternative to “eight-minute abs” that he thinks will be a million-dollar idea. When Ted suggests that someone might come along with “six-minute abs” after his product is released, the hitchhiker gets really mad and starts trying to defend his idea and justify why no one would come up with “six-minute abs.” The hitchhiker tells Ted, “Step into my office.” Ted asks, “Why?” and the hitchhiker says, “‘Cause you’re f**kin’ fired!”
4 “The last time I had a pap smear, the guy needed leather gloves and an oyster shucker.”
Mary’s roommate Magda spends so much time tanning that she has the skin tone of a roasted chicken. She has a number of great lines in the movie, but the funniest – sheerly down the fact that it’s perfectly worded, leaves the perfect amount of mystery, and could stand as a joke on its own – is, “The last time I had a pap smear, the guy needed leather gloves and an oyster shucker.” Magda was played by Lin Shaye, who has played roles in almost every single one of the Farrelly brothers’ big-screen comedies, as well as Elise in the Insidious franchise.
3 “A fatty who likes golf and beer. Gee, Mary, where are you gonna find a gem like that?”
Early in the runtime of There’s Something About Mary, the title character explains her type to her friends: “I want a guy who can play 36 holes of golf and still have enough energy to take Warren and me to a baseball game, and eat hot dogs – I’m talking sausage hot dogs – and beer. Not light beer, but beer. That’s my ad, print it up.” Then her friend Brenda, played with a hilariously sharp sarcastic wit by the great Sarah Silverman, says, “Hmm, a fatty who likes golf and beer. Gee, Mary, where are you gonna find a gem like that?”
2 “I couldn’t believe that she knew my name. Some of my best friends didn’t know my name.”
The M.O. of There’s Something About Mary is to give us the same romcom we’ve seen a million times, but give us a more twisted and messed-up and amplified version of it. Pretty much every romcom revolves around the biggest loser in the world getting together with the most beautiful woman on Earth.
There’s Something About Mary amplifies this by giving us a character who truly is the biggest loser in the world – a guy whose best friends don’t even know what his name is – who gets together with Cameron Diaz. It’s absurd, but it’s only one wrung of absurdity above most romantic comedies.
1 “We’ve got a bleeder!”
The most savage quote in the movie is the punchline to the moment where Ted is preparing to yank his zipper down. His “frank and beans” are really stuck in there and we know it’s not going to be pretty. He counts down the seconds to when he’s going to pull down the zipper – he’s very scared and it’s very tense, so we’re bracing ourselves – and then suddenly, we cut straight to a paramedic on the front lawn yelling to all the emergency services there, “We’ve got a bleeder!” Suffice to say, Ted never gets to take Mary to the dance.