The term “genius” gets banded about a lot these days. But when it’s applied to the comic minds behind “Dumb & Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary” … well, it fits.
After all, the Farrelly Brothers have been responsible for some of the most memorable comic moments of the past two decades, from Jeff Daniels’ tongue-stuck-to-a-ski-pole dilemma to Ben Stiller’s mysterious hair gel.
The Farrellys, Peter and Bobby, are back in theaters on Friday with “Hall Pass,” a comedy about the exploits of two men (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) given a week off from their marriages. amNewYork spoke with Bobby about their memorable career.
What movie most frequently comes up when you meet your fans? It’s so odd — it’s the weirdest thing — but “Osmosis Jones” is the one more people talk about. No, I’m just kidding. You know,“Kingpin.”
Why “Kingpin”? “Kingpin” was not a hit. … “Dumb & Dumber” was such a big hit, and “Mary” and “Me, Myself & Irene” and even “Shallow Hal” did such good money, that a lot of people take it upon themselves to talk about “Kingpin.”
When you look back on “Dumb & Dumber,” which launched your career, what comes to mind? The best part ... for us was that we couldn’t get a movie made, so we sat around punching it up for years. In a weird way, that’s kinda what happened with “Hall Pass.”
You couldn’t get “Hall Pass” made? “Hall Pass” was very hard to get made for a couple reasons. One, we were just coming off “The Heartbreak Kid,” which didn’t do well in the United States. So everybody was holding us accountable for everything. But also because of the concept: People said, “It’s just going to turn women off. You can’t do it — it’s mean.” We worked on this for several years, and ... it’s a lot better.
Saved by Siskel & Ebert
Early in their careers, the Farrellys had two famous champions — critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Peter told us about the impact of one of their reviews, which came just after “Kingpin” bombed at the box office.
“At one point during his review of ‘Kingpin,’ [Siskel] turned to the camera and said, ‘Guys, if you’re listening, keep it up. We need this kind of thing’... It saved our lives, in a way.”