“Mary at all costs”, the golden age of the Farrelly Brothers, returns to the cinema

“Mary at all costs”, the golden age of the Farrelly Brothers, returns to the cinema


Who still remembers brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly? More people, arguably, than this question seems to suggest. However, they will have been consumed so quickly: a small handful of masterpieces, before a slow and cruel descent into hell, and possibly the indifference to their fate of a new generation bottle-fed with concrete superheroic humor.

These films – let’s name Dumb & Dumber (1994), Mary at all costs (1998), Fous d’Irene (2000), Osmosis Jones (2001) and Deux en un (2003) – were nevertheless enough to place their genius in the firmament of American regressive comedy, in a large chain which brings together burlesques, the Marx Brothers, Jerry Lewis and, ultimately, the prolific school led, in the early 2000s, by producer, screenwriter and director Judd Apatow.

Mary at All Costs , which is released in theaters today, is a romantic comedy parody which revealed to the general public its two main actors, Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller. She in the role of Mary, a tall, healthy and desirable girl, who is fought over by a group of caustic males. Him in that of Ted, a shy and bumbling boy who fell madly in love with her. An anthology prologue, set around fifteen years before the contemporary era of the film, opens the narration. It gives an ideal measure of his political incorrectness and his joyful tightrope walking, which associates the violins of romanticism with the crassest triviality.

Phallocratic conspiracy

It’s 1985, in high school. Ted has just won Mary’s favor by defending the girl’s mentally handicapped brother against the brutality of her current fiancé, a football player whose brain is missing. Out of gratitude, she chooses Ted as her prom partner. He comes to pick her up at her house, is attacked by Mary’s black stepfather, a low-level sadist, then by Mary’s brother, who loses his temper for some vague reason. Taking refuge in the toilet, he seriously gets the device stuck in a fly that is too nervously pulled up, his contortions giving the impression to the mother of his potential fiancée that he is masturbating there. The sequence ends with the emergency ambulance taking him away, probably forever, from the love of his life.

Except that about fifteen years later, Ted, still inconsolable and single, hires a detective (Matt Dillon, in the finest water), on the advice of a friend suffering from acute urticaria for good reasons (Chris Elliott), in order to locate her in Miami, where she divides her time between her neighbor (Lin Shaye), an alcoholic manhunter charred like an old sausage by UV rays, and her best friend (Lee Evans), a hemiplegic architect who overplays the courage of his condition and who overprotects it for very twisted reasons. We will say no more, so as not to divulge the abject phallocratic plot that is woven behind this story, and the great uninhibited laughter that greets its absurd mechanisms.

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