About eight years ago the comedic duo of Bobby and Peter Farrelly presented Ben Stiller with his beans above his frank.
That said, the hit, There’s Something About Mary brought the comedy genre to new heights. How do you answer back after that?
According to the Farrelly brothers, you’ve got to take a break from the over-the-top-thing for a bit. Since Me, Myself and Irene, their follow-up after Mary, they went a bit soft on us with films like Fever Pitch and Outside Providence. But now they’re back at it, the Farrelly’s have gone ‘hard R’ once again, with Stiller slotted for some more abuse- the scenario seems aligned for a Farrelly brother tour de farce.
The Heartbreak Kid is the latest chef d’oeuvre by the brothers, and the Concordian, along with other papers around the continent, got the brothers on the line for a few questions the other day.
“The movie is about sex,” states Bobby Farrelly, “we loved Knocked-Up, but we were thinking, here’s a movie about getting a girl pregnant on the first date, and no nudity, well, besides Seth Rogen’s ass, and that’s just unusual and a bit weird.”
In The Heartbreak Kid, Stiller – who the brothers describe as the best ‘reactor’ in Hollywood- plays Eddie Cantrow, a guy who’s about to get to know his wife, Lila, on their honeymoon in sunny Mexico.
“She’s a beautiful, wild, crazy, nutcase,” is how the Farrelly’s describe Lila. Played by up-and-comer Malin Akerman, Lila ‘switch flips’ on Eddie during the honeymoon; she starts to show her true colors and Eddie realizes he’s made quite the faux pas. Lila’s hellzapoppin’ style and her freaky sexual nature clash with Eddie’s cool, reserved composition, pushing the right buttons to hilariously freak this weary guy out.
While seeking refuge from his bewitched bride, Eddie meets Miranda, his true soul mate, played by the endearing Michelle Monaghan (MI:3, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang). Quite the pickle for a guy to be in: can he fall in love with another woman while on his honeymoon and still salvage a happy ending? We’ve seen before how hilarious Stiller can get with the odds stacked against his character.
The Farrelly’s are known for two things. First of all, they push the envelope to new comedic extremes. This might means a well-timed close up of what-you-thought-you-weren’t-gonna-see, some suspicious hair gel, or a mentally challenged guy ringing out a zinger or two. Secondly, they establish an element of ‘heart’ in their movies. “The first question we ask ourselves when approaching a film is how do you establish the heart,” announces Bobby Farrelly.
The Farrelly’s early influences include The Andy Griffith Show, a show which they liked for it’s heart “because we laughed and cared”, stresses Bobby. Perhaps the heart excuses their bawdy, outlandish approach to storytelling- their taboo tactics feel acceptable when adorned with a little heart, and that sense of caring can let us feel good about laughing at something new and crude. The Farrelly’s seem aim for a feel-good, gross-out-of -the -year type effect, The Heartbreak Kid being no exception.
Other cast members in The Heartbreak Kid include Stiller’s own father, Jerry (George Costanza’s pops on Seinfeld) playing Eddie’s audacious old man. Also, Carlos Mencia, a widely popular Mexican stand- up has a role as a hotel worker.
This film is a lot more Something About Mary then it is Stuck On You- one of their later and less outlandish comedies. It’s a film that ‘goes broke’ to make you laugh.
According to the filmmakers, they maintain a loose, fun-loving set while filming. They want the team to have a good time, just like their audiences. “The sex scenes were really funny to film, we were all biting our lips not to ruin the shot,” told Bobby
When asked what the crew does after filming an over-the-top scene like that, the brothers calmly replied, “have a cigarette and take a nap.”
The Heartbreak Kid hits theaters Oct. 5.