Almost as an afterthought, the Farrellys toss in a couple of moderate gross-outs
late in the game, notably one involving an unusual appendage of Mauricio's.
As it is, commercials wiz Blair Hayes' debut feature is hopelessly compromised and quickly sunk by the mismatching of mild Farrellys-style mainstream caricaturing and gross-outs
with weird societal highlighting that could have used the touch of an Errol Morris or Werner Herzog.
That only appears to be the case for gross-outs, as we have come to know them, in recent years.
In an op-ed piece printed recently by the Los Angeles Times, they make the ludicrous claim that teenagers as a unit have rejected gross-outs on moral grounds, preferring such uplifting "hits" as "The Emperor's New Groove" and "Pearl Harbor."
All of these flexible standards raise the central question: Whither the gross-out? Certainly, the recent struggles of tastefully incorrect comedies -- "American Pie 2" figures to be scrutinized next when it opens Aug.
While traditional three-ring circuses have hit the skids in recent years, the genre has undergone some interesting cross-pollinations, from the hipster gross-outs
of Jim Rose & co.
The phalanx of sequels, gross-outs
and actioners occupied a narrow genre range and seemed numbingly calculated to capture every possible demographic.
Funny as much of the action is, however, the approach feels rather less fresh, and the gross-outs seem more gratuitous and tossed in for effect, than in "There's Something About Mary." But such gradations will mean little at the B.O., with Fox's big summer comedy destined to keep audiences happy and piling into theaters for weeks and weeks.
The really outrageous sexual humor is present, to be sure, but it has a certain dragged-in quality, as if the brothers had a gross-out quota to fill and inserted the penile/rectal/vaginal gags, so to speak, wherever they could.
American lowbrow laffers haven't always translated well overseas, but "Mary's" grosses may set a new standard for global gross-outs: The Farrelly brothers' comedy seems destined to outstrip internationally those kings of crassness, "Dumb and Dumber" and "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" (see TOP COMEDY GROSSERS).
Other potential sore spots are the high level of political incorrectness, a payoff that requires passing knowledge of an American football star and a quirky cult musician and gross-out humor -- trading on jokes about the disabled, cuddly animals and body functions -- that makes the Carrey vehicles look comparatively tame.
Homemade gross-out pics are out-grossing most competition at Spain's box office.
"I used to make four serious pics and one gross-out comedy every year.