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Film: Rushes

PUERILITY, vulgarity, sexism, a general lack of respect for household pets. There are plenty of charges you could level at the makers of There's Something About Mary, the Farrelly Brothers, but plagiarism? You mean they had to nick those ideas?

Well, that's what Vince Offer, an independent producer, reckons. Offer claimed last week that a number of Mary's scenes were straight take-offs of over a dozen "unique scenes" from his 1996 flick The Underground Comedy Movie. Amongst the disputed moments of

artistic genius are what the copyright infringement suit calls the "showing and use of prosthetic testicles and satirical testicular self- injury" and "semen's Hollywood debut".

The basis of Offer's claim is that he sent a rough cut of his film to Mary's star Ben Stiller some years ago which contained scenes allegedly similar to a number which turned up in the Farrelly Brothers' film. For their part, the Farrellys claim never to have heard of Offer, calling his claims "a load of baloney". Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind the $150m hit, have issued a statement in support of the Farrellys.


AS THE film adaptation of Toni Morrison's Beloved prepares to hit the big screens in the United States, Oprah Winfrey, a star of the film, has revealed the travails she underwent in order that her character, a slave, "could come through to me".

America's Queen of Chat was given a different name, blindfolded and dumped in a forest where she had to brave the elements and escape being caught by pursuers. The 24-hour jaunt was all Oprah needed to comprehend the nature of enslavement: "They had this guy who was set up as a slave master who said, `You're mine now,' and called me the N-word.

"And there was a moment when it all clicked, when I connected the true meaning of slavery - it's just the stripping of one's humanity."