With their redo of the 1972 comedy about a man (now Ben Stiller) who meets his dreamgirl (now Michelle Monaghan) while on honeymoon with someone else, the Farrelly Brothers return to R-rated comedy only to find themselves outmoded by Judd Apatow and company. The comparison may seem trendy and unfair; the Farrellys were mixing raunch and sweetness when Apatow was still doing TV. But it’s hard to cite precedence when Apatow showcases offbeat comedians while the Farrellys employ Carlos Mencia to rip off Fred Armisen’s Ferecito routine (and, in joke-stealing while playing Mexican, to succinctly sum up his entire career).
For a while, the film’s central joke is that Stiller’s new wife (Malin Akerman, sounding like Cameron Diaz) turns out to be a raving near-lunatic. This is good for some chuckles, but they’re scattered, never building, and Akerman’s character trails off. The film is amusing, but, despite a clear framework, the comic bits play like a collection of deleted scenes from previous Farrelly movies: cartoonishly ornate female genitalia, jellyfish attacks, angry sex. Stiller is game as always, with an admirable unwillingness to let his character off the hook — the movie surges when he hits Ferrell-esque bottom in the last half-hour. But pace keeps slackening (a frequent Farrelly pitfall), and no one here makes it to the top of their game.