101 Funniest Screenplays

Something about this box office hit (penis caught in zipper and/or semen ending up as hair gel?) put it in the crosshairs of a cultural argument about “gross-out comedy” and a pushback against political correctness. It’s worth noting that There’s Something About Mary was released during the Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, where semen mattered. Meanwhile, as The Economist noted at the time, “comedy has always found its subject matter in transgression, and political correctness has simply moved the boundaries. Now that there is, or so it seems, more you are supposed not to say or do or see, there is more to laugh about when someone pushes the limits.” For all its should-I-or-shouldn’t-I-be-laughing-at-this moments, the Farrelly Brothers, working from a story by Ed Decter and John Strauss, make room for themes of love and redemption, of surmounting life’s most horrifying moments, some of which can take place on prom night.

WATCH: The Farrelly Brothers on the line between outrageous and funny