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IN SHORT: despicably funny
There is so much to despise about the latest comedy from the Farrelly Brothers that I thought I'd put it into some kid of historical context. The Farrelly's, over the course of their last trio of ribald flicks (and we're not including the vastly superior Outside Providence, which they wrote and didn't direct, but that 's another story) they have pushed the envelope of good taste and acceptable boundaries for comedy, with an emphasis on the biological functions of body parts from the waist on down. Not just the stuff that comes out. Stuff that you can shove in, as well. Not to mention a trio of characters, all with genius IQs, whose language is fit for rap records that you can't play on the radio. It's a funny thing about those four letter words, something noted last year when the South Park movie unspooled. When the usage is virtually nonstop, the brain has a remarkable ability to lock 'em out altogether. You know every other word is going to start with "mother" and you know how they're going to end and you, at least this old fart, can tune out.
Then again, somewhere between 85 to 90 percent of all the movies I've seen in the last two years, dramas or comedies, majors or indies, have featured at least one scene in which a character vomits, urinates or worse. The Farrelly Brothers find a way to push that stuff into the realm of the disgustingly funny. Early on in Me, Myself and Irene involving a dog and a lawn and you can finish that thought. For a second I thought that the Farrelly's may have finally crossed the line. Not even close.
The story is about as bare bones as you can get. Rhode Island State Police Trooper Charlie Baileygates (Jim Carrey) is a quiet, unassuming, passive man raising the three sons (Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee and Jerod Mixon) left behind when his Mensa wife ran off with another Mensa man. They're not Charlie's kids; I guess the geniuses were smart enough to leave the raising to the sap, but Charlie loves 'em dearly. Seventeen years of being "Mr. nice guy" has allowed a bubbling rage to build in Charlie and when the damn bursts, out comes Hank (also Carrey) a soft spoken, foul mouthed, horny as a toad bit o' scum. What's worse is that the two personalities have both fallen for Irene (Renee Zellweger) who's been busted on a fugitive warrant and must be returned to New York State.
When the two personalities come to full blown confrontation over who "gets" (or gets gotten by) the woman, Me Myself and Irene becomes the Farrelly Fight Club. At least here, the joke is intentional. There's other nonsense about why Irene is on the lam; about corrupt cops and other story points that just don't make sense. Then again, logical story is secondary when the whole point of the movie is to shock you into paroxysms of laughter, which it does with great frequency.
Well, almost constantly, once you get past the initial setup. Along the way cows, chickens, sex toys, various bathrooms and lots of innocent bystanders take it on the chin . . . most of the time though, that "chin" is about three foot lower and on the other side of the body. I'm not a huge fan of Carrey's slapstick (and I go way back to his days on In Living Color) but he pulls off both roles brilliantly. Didn't expect otherwise. The calm in the center of the storm is Zellweger, who holds her own against the force that is JC.
Honestly folks, I've been staring at a blank computer screen for three days trying to figure out how to write this thing up. The story is not as developed as There's Something About Mary. The gags are quite a bit cruder -- along the level of the four year old inside who's just figured out that "doodie" could be a dirty word. I would be lying if I said I didn't laugh, 'cuz I did. So did the fifty year old couple sitting next to me. I guess PBS is right about that little kid inside.
Rating a Farrelly Bros. movie is irrelevant 'cuz you pretty well know by now what you're gonna get when you walk in the door. So I'm going to do what I did with Mary . . .
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Me, Myself and Irene, he would have paid...
Jokes like this are what make people get buzzed and rent videos. I once promised that if I ever saw toilet humor like this come off the big screen, I'd flush the sucker down the toilet so fast it'd beat the swirling blue water down the drain. I've mellowed and all the kidlets will see it in a theater and scream at me for not rating higher.
Still, what was done to the dog in Mary is topped by a cow in Irene. God help us all.
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