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6 Movies like There’s Something About Mary: All about the Girl

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Zahra Pettican itcherMovies like ‘There’s Something About Mary’, ‘When in Rome’ and ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ all have something in common: a girl who is the object of affection of at least one very ardent admirer. What is it about these girls and their ability to mesmerise the masses? ~ Zahra Pettican

There’s Something Weird about That Hair Gel

Straight from the warped minds of the Farrelly Brothers, this movie manages to be an outrageous, not very PC, but yet strangely upbeat romantic comedy. I’m not really a fan of their usual slapstick-style gross-out humour, but there’s just something about this movie… what could it be?

I guess we can start with Mary, a gorgeous yet down-to-earth gal who was nerdy Ted’s high school crush. He tries to reconnect with her years after a prom night disaster (which will ensure you never think of ‘frank and beans’ in the same way again). He hires a sleazy private detective to track her down, but that guy also falls for the dream girl and tries to sabotage Ted’s attempts at connecting with her. It turns out that Mary’s a very popular girl with numerous potential suitors stalking her.

Sweet, silly and occasionally gross, this is the movie that will be remembered for hair gel and dog snogging. Films like ‘There’s Something About Mary’ feature women who have at least one man falling over themselves to impress.


Movies Similar to ‘There’s Something About Mary’…

‘When in Rome’ (Mark Steven Johnson, 2010)

Successful and single Beth is an art curator at the Guggenheim – she’s pretty much over waiting for love and more than a little embittered by past experiences. She travels to Rome for her sister’s wedding and ends up drunkenly paddling around the Fountain of Love and takes some coins thrown by hopeful romantics.

When she goes back to New York, four men are in hot pursuit as the result of some kind of weird cosmic magic, but how will she know if the guy she’s fallen for genuinely loves her or just under the spell? Critics weren’t exactly enchanted by this movie, but rom-com addicts and Josh Duhamel fans really enjoyed it.

Similarity Match: 80%
Both heroines in these films are man magnets, but they don’t exactly attract a high-calibre type. ‘There’s Something About Mary’ is more laugh out loud funny and outrageous.

‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ (Nicholas Stoller, 2008)

After being dumped by his celebrity girlfriend, Sarah Marshall, Peter (Jason Segel) takes a trip to Hawaii to get over her. Little does he know that she’s also headed to the same resort to do the same thing with her new beau, rock star Aldous Snow.

Forgetting his ex proves particularly difficult when she’s everywhere (he’s sadly prone to moping and weeping uncontrollably). Peter’s definitely worse at rebounding than Sarah, but local girl Rachel (Mila Kunis) manages to help him overcome his wallowing. Russell Brand pretty much plays a parody of himself as the love rival, but he does so hilariously.

Similarity Match: 75%
Both side splitting comedies where the male protagonists are unlucky but good-hearted guys who have their sights fixed on a certain female for better or worse.

‘Lars and the Real Girl’ (Craig Gillespie, 2007)

This movie takes mail order brides and internet dating to a whole new level. Lars (Ryan Gosling) is a shy and socially awkward young man living in a small Wisconsin town. His brother and sister-in-law are delighted to discover he has a new girlfriend, a missionary named Bianca. Unfortunately, when they meet the lovely lady and discover she’s actually a sex doll, their relief turns into worry, embarrassment and despair.

Luckily, everyone in town rallies around Lars and plays along with his delusion, and Bianca becomes a popular addition to the community as she touches their lives, too. Great acting from all the cast, but the standout star must be Bianca, who has an electric chemistry with Gosling and really pushes her acting skills to the limit as an inanimate object.

Similarity Match: 70%
The humour in ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ is much subtler and less slapstick, but both movies have an object of affection, just in Lars’s case she literally is an object.


If You Like ‘There’s Something About Mary’, You Will Like…

The men in movies similar to ‘There’s Something About Mary’ all chase after the lovely ladies, but there’s a lot of delusion, misinformation and lies along the way. The mayhem continues in these three films.

‘The Truth About Cats & Dogs’ (Michael Lehmann, 1996)

This is an updated and gender-reversed variation on Cyrano de Bergerac, where a  case of mistaken identity ends up with a woman’s friend taking her place as the object of a suitor’s affection. Janeane Garofalo stars as Abby, the host of a radio talk show for people who have problems with pets.

One of her callers falls for her, but when he stops by the station, she makes her beautiful blonde friend Noelle (Uma Thurman) pretend to be her. Fearing she doesn’t stand a chance with him,  Abby who’s neither tall or blonde (but cute nonetheless) encourages her friend to keep up the pretense, which causes all kinds of mayhem as he is very attracted to Noelle’s appearance but falls for Abby’s personality.

Just like ‘There’s Something About Mary’, things are way more complicated than they need to be thanks to an insecure lead character, but the guy is certainly similarly fixated on a hot blonde.

‘Shallow Hal’ (Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly, 2001)

Jack Black plays Hal, a typical big-city corporate marketing guy who’s only attracted to gorgeous supermodel types. He and his best friend, Mauricio, spend their time cruising the bar scene and failing dismally at picking up hot women. One day, he runs into self-help guru Tony Robbins, who hypnotizes him into recognising only the inner beauty of women.

So when he meets overweight Rosemary, he can only see a super-slim hottie whilst everyone else sees Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit. This movie is as politically incorrect as you’d expect from a Farrelly brothers’ comedy, but it pokes fun at superficiality too.

Both films were directed by the Farrellys and ‘Shallow Hal’ goes full steam ahead on the same offensive humour, although this time only one man is fixated on the female.

‘Employee of the Month’ (Greg Coolidge, 2006)

Zack (Dane Cook) is slacker who works at Super Club, a warehouse store. He decides to up his game upon hearing that the hot new female employee digs ambitious men who win the store employee of the month award. I mean who wouldn’t find being the best store employee a total aphrodisiac? That kind of prestige beats personality and looks every time.

Not that I’m saying this film is built on a ridiculous premise or anything. The slacker and his wingmen find themselves in competition with an ambitious and ruthless co-worker (Dax Shepard). It’s kind of like the ‘Top Gun’ of superstores… if ‘Top Gun’ had been directed by the Farrelly Brothers or Trey Parker.

The race for a lady’s attention (whether or not she wants it) is a familiar theme and the comedic style is similar though not as gross.


Get over Her

There are lots of films where the male characters become fixated on unattainable women or past loves. Teen romcom ‘Get Over It’ is a good example of a guy obsessed with his ex, and fantasy film ‘Stardust’ has a similar premise. In ‘One Night at McCool’s’, all the men fall for the charms of a femme fatale and their obsession leads to mayhem and murder.

What movies have I missed?

Let us know in the comments section.

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