There's Something About Mary is an American film based on a real-life story released in 1998 by 20th Century Fox, directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (the Farrelly brothers). A combination of romantic comedy and gross-out film, it stars Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, W. Earl Brown, Lee Evans and Jeffrey Tambor, with cameo appearances by football star Brett Favre (who plays himself), Sarah Silverman, Keith David, and Harland Williams.
This sleeper hit was the third-highest-grossing movie of 1998 in North America—the highest-grossing comedy—and it catapulted Stiller into the limelight. Until Wedding Crashers was released in 2005, There's Something About Mary was the most successful youth-aimed R-rated comedy film at the box office.
There's Something About Mary was placed 27th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (see the 100 Years Series), a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century. In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the 4th greatest comedy film of all time. This film is number 4 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".
The movie has made $176 million in the U.S. alone and $369 million worldwide.
In 1985, 16-year-old high school student Theodore "Ted" Stroehmann is about to go on a prom date with his dream girl Mary Jensen when he gets his scrotum stuck in a zipper. He is hospitalized when it bleeds after being unzipped, which cancels their date. Ted subsequently loses contact with Mary.
Thirteen years later in 1998, 29-year-old Ted is still in love with Mary. On the advice of his best friend Dom, Ted hires private investigator Pat Healy to track her down. Healy discovers that she is an orthopedic surgeon living in Miami, and spending time with her friends and her neighbor Magda. After observing her for a few days, Healy falls in love with Mary. He returns to Providence and lies to Ted about Mary, telling him that she is overweight and has four kids by three different men. Healy quits his job and returns to Miami to pursue her. He resorts to lying, cheating, and stalking to win Mary over. They spend several weeks dating before Mary's friend Tucker, a British architect who uses crutches due to serious spine damage, exposes him as a fraud. Healy is enraged after eavesdropping on Tucker, who lies about Healy being a serial murderer. After subsequently tailing Tucker, Healy discovers him to be a fraud himself: he is an able-bodied American pizza delivery boy named Norm Phipps, who is also in love with Mary. Years earlier, Norm intentionally injured himself in order to get close to Mary, hoping that she would take him on as a patient. Although his injury has long since healed, he pretends to be disabled in order to gain Mary's sympathy, and he uses his friendship with her as a ploy to drive away any potential romantic rivals.
Meanwhile, Ted finds out from one of his old classmates that Healy was lying about Mary. He then drives down to Florida to see her. During the drive down, Ted picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a mass murderer. The murderer leaves a body in Ted's car when Ted is unintentionally caught with a group of gay men while he tries to urinate. Ted is mistakenly arrested for the murder and bailed out by his friend Dom after the police catch the real killer. After Ted finds Mary, they begin dating. He seems to have won her love until an anonymous letter exposes his connection with Pat, and she breaks contact with him. Ted confronts Pat and Norm, and Mary is accosted by Dom, who is revealed to be her ex-boyfriend "Woogie", whom she has a restraining order against, and was the one who sent the letter. He wants to reconnect with her as well, which she quickly refuses, so he tries to steal her shoes to satisfy his shoe fetish.
Ted, Norm, and Pat arrive, and, when Mary is finally together with all of her deceitful suitors, Ted realizes that the only one who did not resort to lying or manipulation to win over Mary was an ex-boyfriend named Brett, who he learns is National Football League quarterback Brett Favre. Norm had previously confessed to Ted that he lied to Mary about Brett insulting her brother Warren (who lives with an intellectual disability), which was why she ended the relationship. After reuniting Brett and Mary, Ted leaves tearfully until Mary catches up to Ted, saying "I'd be happiest with you". Mary and Ted kiss while singer/songwriter Jonathan Richman, who has periodically narrated the story in song throughout the film, is accidentally shot by Magda's boyfriend, who was trying to shoot Ted as he was also infatuated with Mary.
- Cameron Diaz as Mary Jensen
- Matt Dillon as Pat Healy
- Ben Stiller as Ted Stroehmann
- Chris Elliott as Dom "Woogie" Woganowski
- Lee Evans as Tucker/Norm Phipps
- Lin Shaye as Magda
- Jeffrey Tambor as Sully
- Markie Post as Sheila Jensen, Mary's mother
- Keith David as Charlie, Mary's stepfather
- W. Earl Brown as Warren Jensen, Mary's mentally disabled brother
- Sarah Silverman as Brenda, Mary's sarcastic best friend
- Khandi Alexander as Joanie
- Willie Garson as Dr. Zit Face
- Harland Williams as The Hitchhiker
- Richard Tyson as Detective Krevoy
- Rob Moran as Detective Stabler
- Jonathan Richman as The Singing Narrator
- Steve Sweeney as Policeman
- Lenny Clarke as Fireman
- Richard Jenkins as Psychiatrist
- Brett Favre as himself