It might be hard to believe, but next year marks the 10th anniversary of “There’s Something About Mary,” the rude, crude, modern slapstick classic that not only made Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller superstars, but forged the foul path for so many subsequent comedies. Appropriately enough, Stiller and the notorious Farrelly brothers are celebrating by giving their fans the gift of a raunchy rreunion, titled “The Heartbreak Kid.”
“I find that when I’m really upset, people get frightened … and they also get a little weirded out,” Stiller explained recently, admitting that much of his Farrelly persona (as well as his characters in films like “Meet the Parents”) revolves around how hilarious he is when he gets angry.
“He makes a joke funnier by his reaction to it,” explained Peter Farrelly, citing “Mary” scenes like Stiller’s fight with Puffy the dog, as well his battles in “Heartbreak” with a mariachi band, a jellyfish and two bratty kids. “But he’s still got the likeability factor.”
In “Heartbreak,” the main target of Stiller’s rage is Malin Akerman — a blond beauty best known for playing a temptress on “Harold & Kumar” — now portraying bridezilla Lila opposite Ben’s Eddie.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure [working with Stiller], because he’s brilliant. You just want to try and keep up with him,” grinned Akerman, whose timing and utter lack of vanity has many predicting a Diaz-esque breakout. “It was a bit nerve-wracking the first week.”
The flick’s basic framework has lifelong bachelor Eddie finally settling down after a whirlwind romance with Akerman’s unpredictable character. Once they depart for their Mexican honeymoon, however, their adventure turns into a horror movie for husbands. As the new bride transforms into a profanity-dropping, debt-ridden, sun-burned maniac who can’t chew steak without it falling from her nose, his eyes turn to a more traditional plain Jane, played by Michelle Monaghan (“Mission: Impossible III”).
“Dating is such a tough thing, because every time you go on a date with somebody, you have no idea what you’re going to be getting,” Stiller shrugged. “I’ve had some bad dates, but nothing like what’s in the movie. I had some fun experiences that, in retrospect, are probably more fun in retrospect.”
Stiller’s co-stars have their own dating nightmares to share. “I once had a woman tell me, five minutes into a date, that she had venereal warts,” grinned Rob Corddry, who plays Eddie’s best friend in the film. “Not my favorite dinner conversation!”
“One time I went out on a date,” said Jerry Stiller, Ben’s father both on- and offscreen. “I told her I had venereal warts.”
“Oh my God! I dated you!” Corddry teased the 80-year-old comedian.
Ackerman insisted men aren’t the only ones with bad experiences. “There was one specific date, where he let [a fart] slip,” she grinned. “And that was really disconcerting. That was the last date.”
Danny McBride (“Hot Rod”), who appears in the flick as Monaghan’s irritable cousin, Martin, added a more frightening anecdote. “When I first moved to L.A., I dated a girl who said that her ex-boyfriend, who she recently broke up with, had just gone to jail for hitting someone in the face with a machete,” he remembered. “And he was only charged with ’mayhem’!”
Mayhem would also seem to be the best word to sum up the performance of Akerman, who gets some of the biggest laughs of the movie while sitting in Stiller’s passenger seat and singing along to embarrassing songs by the likes of the Charlie Daniels Band and the Spice Girls.
“[I’ve been caught singing to] a Backstreet Boys song, or ’NSYNC,” Akerman said of her real-life driving habits. “They’re so catchy that, even if you’re not thinking about it, it kinda just comes to you! When it’s on the radio, you start singing it, and you know the lyrics, but you don’t know why.”
“I got in trouble when I was a child for singing Eazy-E at Bible school,” McBride confessed.
“Any song that I’m singing along to is not going to sound good,” admitted Stiller. “I try not to do it when I’m around people, though I do it alone all the time. I like a lot of ’70s [music], you know? I don’t think they’re bad songs. They’re just songs that, maybe, nobody wants to hear me singing, like ELO.”
With that, Stiller belted out a few high notes from Electric Light Orchestra’s 1976 hit “Telephone Line,” and although we don’t want to badmouth the comedian’s voice, let’s just say that the Farrelly brothers might want to have him sing it the next time they team up.
But it wouldn’t be a Farrelly brothers film if it didn’t have the scene and, sure enough, “Heartbreak” delivers one enormous popcorn-dropping visual gag that should have fans reacting to Akerman’s private parts much as they once did to Diaz’s super-sticky hair gel.
“There’s an afro,” laughed Carlos Mencia, who appears in the film as a Mexican hotel worker who helps Stiller. “We kinda see a little ’fro action down there.”
Akerman revealed that the scene uses a “stunt crotch,” though she said there’s nowhere she wouldn’t go for a laugh, not even down there. “It was glued on to me, and then it was CGI’d afterwards, to give it that pop.”
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