Gorgeous Mary asked geeky Ted out to the High School Senior Prom, unfortunately Ted was unable to fulfill the date due to an unfortunate bathroom incident. Thirteen years later, still smarting from the embarrassment and obviously still in love with Mary, Ted seeks her out. To find out more about her, Ted hires private detective Pat to scout her out in Miami. As soon as Pat sees her, however, he falls for her, leaving Ted and Pat to fight it out over Mary.
There's something about the titular and indeterminate Something About Mary that conjures traits of beguiling subtlety and mystery. And while this may well reflect her character — played with significant allure by Diaz — don't expect such qualities from the film itself. Because this is a Farrelly brothers movie. Oh, you remember — Jeff Daniels' toilet terror and ski-lift/tongue interface in Dumb And Dumber or Woody Harrelson "milking" a bull in Kingpin.
And thankfully, such base, vulgar and uproarious comedy is once more the only thing soiling the agenda. Thirteen years ago, school babe Mary asked metal-rnouth nerd Ted (Stiller) to their Senior Prom. He was amazed. He was overjoyed. He was cock-a-hoop. He was cock-a-zip, in fact, because the great night ended in premature tears with the excruciating snaring of Ted's dangly bits. But he's been besotted, and perhaps a little sore, ever since.
And now, after all this time, he's decided to track her down, albeit through the dubious route of sleazy private eye Pat Healy (Dillon), who has only to lay lascivious eyes on Mary in her sun-kissed Miami locale to abandon his client and pitch for her himself. But Ted's torch has been burning longer than the smarting in his pants and he's not about to give up that easily. If there's an opposite to highbrow then this is squarely it, but it's the Farrellys' ability to flagrantly exceed the bounds of PC, taste and common decency that makes this screwball comedy outrageous and entertaining.
An enjoyable cast — Stiller and Dillon both superb, Diaz irresistible, top support roles from Lee Evans and (after Kingpin) gross-out queen Lin Shaye — are clearly having fun (stick around for the closing credit theme).
While this it slows desperately in places, there are some scenes of stand-out hilarity that will actually leave you in pain.