There's Something About Mary

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
There's Something About Mary Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Farrelly bros' classic is full of gross-out laughs.
  • R
  • 1998
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 20 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Unscrupulous behavior is rampant and played strictly for laughs. Everyone stalks Mary, violating her privacy, spying on her, and lying to her. Healy lies to Ted about what Mary looks like and Ted lies to Mary about why he's in Florida. Norman pretends to be a disabled architect to attract Mary, and sends Mary anonymous notes lying about her boyfriends to make her break up with them. Healy stalks her, listens to her phone calls and conversations in her home, and caps his teeth to attract Mary. Woogie lies to Ted about who he is and violates a restraining order. He also tries to steal her shoes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters lie, cheat, and steal -- all in the name of humor.


Lots of comic violence, including Warren beating up Ted. Ted gets his penis stuck in his zipper, Healy drugs Magda's dog and then sets it on fire (luckily the dog very much looks like a stuffed replica). Policemen beat Ted's head against a table. Warren catches Ted's lip with a fish hook.


A part of the film's over-the-top comedy comes from crude sexuality behavior including: a shot of an old woman's saggy boobs, constant insinuation that Ted is gay and extensive talk about masturbation. Ted gets his genitals caught in a zipper and is rushed to the hospital. Dom's wife gives him oral sex as he watches TV. Ted is caught in a gay sex raid. Ted masturbates and famously gets his semen stuck on his ear, which Mary unknowingly puts in her hair. Healy and Norman go to a strip club. Healy has nudie calendars on his wall.


Lots of degrading language about women, including "cocktease," "whale," etc. There's also lots of salty language, such as "f--k," "ass," "bitch," "numbnuts," "s--t," "dick," "bulls--t," "bastard," "prick," and "dips--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mary and her friends drink beer. Magda drinks martinis. Healy smokes cigars and feeds Magda's dog tranquilizers. Norman gives Magda and her dog speed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that There's Something About Mary is a gross-out movie that features rampant unscrupulous, shocking, and inappropriate behavior to elicit laughs. It's funny stuff for the right crowd of adult comedy aficionados and a well-made movie for the often-maligned genre. Kids will want to see it because of the star power of Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller and its notorious shock value as a Farrelly brothers film. But consider this while you listen to them beg: the film features lots of jokes about male sexual insecurity, including getting caught masturbating (falsely and then really, when Mary finds ejaculate on Ted's ear and mistakes it for hair gel), injuring their genitals, gay male sex, and rape. It also makes light of sociopathic behavior, as one character stalks Mary and all the other men in her life continually deceive her.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymlb444 June 28, 2009

Funniest Ben Stiller but crude.

Funniest Ben Stller i've seen. But the sexual humor was a bit overboardered.Language to, i saw it when i was 12 and my parents didnt mind but Caution.
Parent Written byApersonthatdoes... February 22, 2021


Violence 2.5/5
Sex 4.5/5
Language 5/5
Drinking/Drugs/Smoking 3/5
Teen, 16 years old Written bymovieloverman1234 July 24, 2009
This movie is pretty funny but does have alot of sexy stuff in it. If you like funny movies then this is one you have to watch but watch out so young kids dont... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 9, 2009

funny movie

this funny i love how they got brent farve

What's the story?

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY centers on hapless Ted (Ben Stiller), who's having a Charlie Brown life. His therapist ducks out on his sessions, his friends have everything he wants, and he still can't get over the girl he almost went to prom with (Cameron Diaz). He's having fantasies about her and trying to forget the tragic zipper accident that sent him to the hospital for weeks and forced him to miss out on what he's sure would have been his perfect relationship. So he takes Dom's (Chris Elliot's) advice and hires a private investigator Healy (Matt Dillon) to find her so he can finally have closure and, maybe, a second chance at love. But can Healy find her, and if he can, can he resist her football-and-beer-loving charm?

Is it any good?

Sure, the plot may sound like your typical romantic comedy -- but not with the Farrelly brothers at the helm. These are the same guys who brought you Dumb and Dumber, with its toilet humor and political incorrectness. Instead, this is a frat guy's idea of a romantic comedy, full of jokes at the expense of disabled people and women. Sure, the guys who fall for Mary are the ultimate joke; undeveloped man-boy idiots drooling over her charms -- how many leggy blondes are doctors who love beer and football?

If you can't stand this kind of humor, stay clear. And it's certainly not the thing for anyone with dating horror stories -- Chris Elliot's character won't be funny at all. But the film definitely has enough to satisfy adult gross-out humor fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of this movie and the whole gross-out genre. Do you think these extremely flawed characters are funny? What do you think about angelic and idealized Mary in comparison?

  • Is this film equally funny to men and women? Why or why not?

  • Were there parts of the film you found more offensive than funny? Would you seek out other movies like this or stick to lighter comedy fare?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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