Me, Myself & Irene

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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

Charlie Baileygates is a mild-mannered Rhode Island state trooper left to raise African-American triplets when his unfaithful wife abandons him for the boys’ biological father, a limo-driving midget. Charlie becomes a human doormat, having his authority challenged at every turn. Before long, he snaps, unleashing a verbally abusive alter-ego named Hank who lusts after women, picks fights and generally creates pain for Charlie. The schizophrenia can be controlled with medication, but while escorting a young woman to upstate New York in conjunction with an arrest warrant, the pair end up on the lam—without his pills. Bad guys—dirty cops included—want Irene dead because she may know too much about a former boss’s illegal activities. (So why does a double-dealing fed, after interrogating Irene and learning she knows nothing, tell her all the stuff they’re afraid she might blab?) Clearly, plot points and logic are pretty much irrelevant. This movie exists for its vulgar sight gags and other deeply offensive humor. Want a representative snapshot? Picture the fairy-tale romantic ending when Charlie prepares to express undying devotion to Irene. A plane piloted by Charlie’s three grown sons flies overhead towing the banner, “Will you marry me, b–ch?” Such acerbic jokes are the rule. And that’s a relatively tame one. If you really feel the need to read on, do so with the understanding that much of Me, Myself & Irene’s most egregious material can’t even be described here. And what does appear may be more than you really want to know.

Positive Elements: Despite being dealt a lousy hand by a cheating wife, Charlie loves his sons and tries to be a good father (until he lets them watch Richard Pryor on HBO and sends their vocabulary into a tailspin). The boys have a deep affection for their dad as well, and go to great lengths to defend him when corrupt cops close in. In an uncharacteristically repentant moment, the abusive Hank apologizes to an albino waiter after making insulting remarks (Irene frequently serves as his conscience). When barber-shop patrons race to the window to ogle a well-endowed woman with a baby, Charlie chides them for it.

Spiritual Content: Charlie visits a priest to confess underlying feelings of rage.

Sexual Content: Oh, brother. Jokes and scenes involve homosexual activity, masturbation, g-spots, vaginal fungus, oral sex, anal sex, a policeman being sodomized with a live chicken and more. Hank suckles at the breast of a buxom new mother, opens his pants and flashes old ladies, grabs Irene’s breasts and is shown (clothed) having an erection. There is rear nudity, including a shot of the chicken. A man is beaten senseless with a sex toy. Sex is implied between Charlie and Irene on two occasions.

Violent Content: Fights feature people being kicked, punched, pistol-whipped and shot at. A federal officer is shot dead by a masked gunman. Charlie has his thumb blown off while trying to disarm a criminal (a jarring scene leaving a grotesque stump and lots of blood). With little left to the viewer’s imagination, Hank runs down a bad cop with his car. A man is impaled in the back with a lawn dart. After coming upon a wounded cow lying in the road, Charlie decides the humane thing to do is put it out of its misery and proceeds to empty his handgun into the animal’s head. A hypersensitive midget pulls out nunchakus and beats Charlie about the legs. The violent Hank grabs an ice cream cone away from one little girl and repays another���s rudeness by holding her underwater. Hank also brutalizes a Coke machine and drives a man’s car through the front of a barber shop in a destructive act of payback. Whitey “confesses” to murdering his parents and siblings with a hammer.

Crude or Profane Language: Woe to the family film critic who must dutifully count profanities and obscenities in this one. S-words, a-holes, abuses of the Lord’s name and other colorful language became nearly impossible to record. The script includes at least 50 f-words, including one from a little girl who tells a policeman to “f— off.” Slang for sexual behavior and genitalia, as well as other biological functions, litters the dialogue.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Aside from Charlie’s prescription medication, he and his friends drink beer at a picnic and a barbecue. Irene and Hank polish off a bottle of wine, which is blamed in part for Irene’s inability to know which of Charlie’s personalities she was having wild sex with. Hank smokes cigarettes throughout. When agents tell Irene they found evidence of marijuana in her apartment, her defense is, “So I smoked some pot. Is that some crime?”

Other Negative Elements: This mean-spirited pantheon to political incorrectness makes jokes at the expense of “little people,” albinos, the handicapped, lesbians, African-Americans, young children, farm animals and the Rhode Island state police. When a thoughtless neighbor encourages his dog to defecate on Charlie’s lawn (shown in graphic detail), Hank later returns and squats in the neighbor’s frontyard. He also empties a trash can in a convertible and urinates in the gas tank. Experiencing control problems, Charlie sprays urine all over a motel bathroom. Women are referred to as “b–ches” numerous times.

Summary: To say that producer/director Bobby Farrelly has once again single-handedly lowered the bar for lowbrow humor and set Western civilization on an accelerating path toward moral destruction would be unfair. His brother Peter helped. The twisted duo continues to make films designed to cause audiences’ jaws to drop in “I-can’t-believe-they-just-did-that” horror. The semen-as-hair gel moment alone in 1998’s There’s Something About Mary caused many moviegoers to swear off all things Farrelly forever. Smart move. That’s not to say that Me, Myself & Irene doesn’t have a few genuine laughs. It does. But they are the exception in a movie filled with deeply disturbing material.

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Bob Smithouser