Photo: Jason Grow
By Tracey Leibach
The Farrelly brothers are proud to make movies and not films. And their movies are, well, bawdy. (Critics also have described them as outrageous, offensive, irreverent, scatological, and downright gross.)
But in less than a decade, Bobby Farrelly 81 and older brother Peter Farrelly have struck it rich in Hollywood with their signature brand of outrageous comedy. Theyve written, directed, and produced some of the biggest comedies in recent years, and are credited with giving a much-needed facelift to the genre. The pairs third picture, Theres Something About Mary, earned more than $450 million and catapulted the Farrellys to the top of the Hollywood heap.
The brothers set out to write and direct popular comedies that would appeal to a wide audience. Were not trying to make any artistic statement. Our movies are just for entertainment value, Bobby Farrelly, 43, told the Boston Globe last year. In a way we make the movie for our own friends, the people we know and trust. If they like it, we like it. We dont play to the critics, because critics are rough on comedy. But there is a need for comedies at the multiplex, and someone has to make them.
The Farrellys debuted with the 1994 box-office megahit Dumb and Dumber, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. They followed up in 1996 with the bowling spoof Kingpin, with Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and Bill Murray.
Then along came Mary in 1998, bolstering the brothers reputation as a powerful force in Hollywood.
Their most recent effort, Osmosis Jones, a combination of live action and animation, was released in mid-August. An epic adventure of microscopic proportions, the movie stars Bill Murray, Molly Shannon, and Chris Elliott, and the voices of Chris Rock, Laurence Fishburne, and David Hyde Pierce. The live action takes place outside the body of Murrays character, Frank Detorri. The animationcomplete with all sorts of bodily functions and fluidsoccurs inside Franks body, the City of Frank.
Entertainment Weeklys Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, If youre any kind of aficionado of phlegm, mucus, pus, and related body waste managementand who among us is not?youve got to admire the tenderhearted obsessiveness with which the filmmaking Farrelly brothers, Peter and Bobby, pursue grossness as the great social leveler.
Tenderhearted and grossness arent often used in the same sentencebut in the case of the Farrellys, this seeming contradiction sets their work apart. Beneath the goofy gags and bathroom humor lies a sweet story; the pursuit of love is a major theme of their movies.
Scene from Dumb and Dumber:
|"Why Is This Man Smiling?"|
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