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Humor Aims Low but True in ‘Mary’

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In “There’s Something About Mary,” a regular guy (played by Ben Stiller) pursues the girl of his dreams (Cameron Diaz) with unexpected and comic results. (Rated R)

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The Farrelly brothers (Bobby and Peter, co-directors) found a formula with “Dumb and Dumber” and “Kingpin” that works with teens--load up the jokes, from the goofy to the crude, and let them fly scattershot.

They use the same approach in “There’s Something About Mary” with the same result. Teenagers, mostly boys with amped-up hormones, said they laughed hard and often during a recent screening in Tustin. Most girls liked it too, though some found the sexual gags “gross” or “just stupid.”

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No problem in that department for Mark Remlinger, 16, of Tustin. “I like that kind of [low humor], so it didn’t bother me at all,” he said.

His girlfriend, Sara Lanier, 15, and also of Tustin, admitted she giggled through much of “There’s Something About Mary” but was more reserved.

Sara thought one scene, in which Ben Stiller’s Ted has a painful time zipping his pants, was over the top: “I felt, like, ‘Ugh!’ ”

Geoff Dolan, 14, of Yorba Linda thought the zipper scene was a classic. He also cracked up when Ted tries to woo Mary near the beach and ends up with a fishing hook stuck to his mouth.

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“You know that had to hurt bad,” Geoff observed.

Geoff also enjoyed Mary’s vicious little dog, which is used for a lot of physical gags involving biting, barking and growling.

Most kids were quick to admit the picture is summertime escapism.

“You sort of just feel silly,” said Jim Conrad, a 17-year-old from Orange. “You don’t go to it to be smart, but that’s OK.”

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Although boys and girls couldn’t agree on the overall merits of the film, they did decide that Cameron Diaz (she plays Mary) is a star.

“She’s just so cute; I really like her,” Sara said.

Then Mark pitched in, “She’s hot, that’s what she is.”

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PARENTS’ PERSPECTIVE: “There’s Something About Mary” may be mindless entertainment, but it’s not necessarily harmless to some adults. A Tustin mother of a 10-year-old girl didn’t think the film was appropriate for younger kids.

“It was pretty raw at times, and dumb more than that,” Ann Gonzalez said.


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