Jeff Gordinier
April 21, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In Me, Myself, and Irene, a June comedy directed by the fraternal gross-out pair Bobby and Peter Farrelly, Jim Carrey plays a guy with a split personality. So it makes sense that most of the songs in Irene will be provided by that cleft-brained comeback twosome, Steely Dan. Just as Jonathan Richman ditties floated in and out of the Farrellys’ There’s Something About Mary, the Dan’s cryptic ’70s classics will show up in several scenes of Irene — in revamped versions by unlikely acolytes such as Wilco, Freedy Johnston, Ben Folds Five, and Smash Mouth. Ironically, though, the Farrelly brothers’ main muse backed out. ”Only one person turned down our request to do a cover, and that was Jonathan Richman,” says Peter Farrelly. ”I called him up and said, ‘Look, will you do a cover of a Steely Dan song?’ He called back and said, ‘Uh, Peter, I’d like to do this, but the lyrics — I don’t know what they mean. I never understood what they were sayin’.’ When Jonathan sings, he puts his whole heart into it, so he passed.”

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