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Project on There's Something About Mary (1998) Scene Analysis - Essay Example

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‘There’s Something About Mary’ was produced in 1998, directed by the Farrelly brothers Bobby and Peter. It stars well known actors Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller as well as actress Cameron Diaz. The film was a great success in the U.S. …
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Project on There's Something About Mary (1998) Scene Analysis By (please place all data onthe title page) ‘There’s Something About Mary’ was produced in 1998, directed by the Farrelly brothers Bobby and Peter. It stars well known actors Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller as well as actress Cameron Diaz. The film was a great success in the U.S. Although ??it was at the number one slot till its eighth week at the weekly box office, it played a total of well over 176 million U.S. dollars (cost about 23 million U.S. dollars) and was thus the third most successful film in 1998. ‘There's Something About Mary’ occupies space 27 in the list of the 100 best English comedies, as per list published by the American Film Institute on the 100-year anniversary of American film. In general, the reactions of critics to the film were positive. Internet reviewing site received 82 reviews, giving the film an overall score of 83%. The rating for the film on the site averaged at seven out of ten. They considered the movie to be warm and have a strong heart, despite the childish and trivial humor that it exhibited. Metacritic gave the film a lower rating of 69%, as a consequence of reviews from 29 critics. The film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert rated the film three stars out of four, stating the watching the film exposes some of our base human nature, our humor, by ignoring the normal standards of political correctness, manners, values and decorum (Ebert 1998). One of the most amusing scenes of the film occurs when Mary arrives for a date with Ben Stiller’s character, who is masturbating in the bathroom. Despite the borderline vulgarity and offensiveness of the scene, it is very funny. Mary mistakes the sperm stuck to Ted’s (Ben Stiller) ear as hair gel and uses it to style her hair. The sheer ridiculousness of the scene combined with the expressions of Ben Stiller makes it irresistibly funny. The film has used this brand of humor throughout. In fact, the director duo, Farrelly brothers, is known for this style of humor. This scene makes the audiences uncomfortable and embarrassed. At the same time, they cannot help but laugh at the insane scene. The innovativeness of this scene and the ingenuity of the writing have to be applauded. The cinematography is excellent and makes the most of Ben Stiller’s expressions. Close ups and mid shots are used mainly in order to keep the audience’s focus on the expressions of the actors. The dialogues are quite interesting as well. The most significant dialogue in this scene is when Mary notices the sperm stuck on Ted’s ear. Her expressions are such that the audience feels that she understands what it is and s disgusted. Right at the next moment is established that she thinks it is hair gel. This pushes the audience and every viewer is bound to burst out laughing at the silliness of the scene. Throughout the scene, the close up and mid shots keep the audience thinking about the sperm. In the next scene as well, the same kind of shots make the audience focus on the sperm which is now stuck to Mary’s hair. This is a very audacious style of comedy and the Farrelly brothers have done a really great job at making this scene work. This scene could easily have gone vulgar and could have been rejected by the audience. But, due to the superb acting, dialogues and cinematography, it has become one of the funniest scenes in the history of American comedy films. The costumes worn by the characters in this movie are quite appropriate with the thought of the movie and if we look at the particular scene ‘Is That Hair Gel’ where Ted was found masturbating and Mary found the sperm in Ted’s ear, we can observe that the costumes were used nicely. Both of them came to attend a party where the scene took place. Ted was in casual wear. He wore a black t-shirt and a black trouser which shows a casual look and it is perfect for attending a party. Mary wore a red party wear which is quite gorgeous and seems to look pretty in her. As we all know that dresses of any gorgeous color can be great when attending any party and red is something that is really perfect for any occasion. So, it suited in Mary nicely. As it is not an official party where Ted and Mary came, any formal wears have not been used. In that case, the casual wear worn by Ted is great instead of wearing a black suit and trouser. The same applies in case of Mary also. The outfit matches perfectly with the body shape of Cameron Diaz and the color also suits well in Mary. There is another character we can see in this particular scene that is the girl who serves drink to Ted. The outfit of that character has also been established nicely. The characterization in this film is simply awesome. Ben Stiller is one of the famous names in American movies, especially in comedy movies. Same applies for Cameron Diaz too who did numerous comedy as well as romantic movies. As ‘There is something in Mary’ is a romantic comedy movie, both of them had played their roles pretty well. Some credit goes to directors of the movie, Farrelly brothers i.e. Bobby and Peter for choosing the characters. The character of Ben Stiller that is Ted Stroehmann is an shy and awkward young man who has fallen in love with Mary since high school and the character of Mary is an orthopedic surgeon. The other characters in the movie are played quite well by Matt Dillon, Chris Elliot, Lee Evans, Lin Shaye and others which makes the movie compact and the character of Mary’s mother has been played well by Markie Post. The soundtracks used in the movie are good, especially the title track by Jonathan Richman. The lyrics of the songs in this movie are related to the movie. The song ‘How to survive a broken heart’ relates to the story as Ted met Mary after 13 years and he was missing her for these 13 years. The other songs used in this movie are also well related to the movie. References: Ebert, R. (1998). There's Something About Mary. Chicago Sun-Times. Decter, ED & Strauss, J.J. (2002). There's Something about Mary: The Screenplay. Harvest Moon Publishing. Read More
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