I vowed I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it. And I can offer no reasonable explanation for my moment of insanity. By now you must have guessed my horrific secret. Yes, I’ll admit it. I saw “Dumb and Dumber To.” Go ahead and assail me with vituperative slings and arrows. I deserve them. But now that I have my painful admission out of the way, I may as well save you the agony I endured.
Perhaps you recall that the original “Dumb and Dumber” hit the screens all the way back in 1994, and ended up earning a whopping $250 million around the world. Even though the movie was incredibly stupid, people flocked to see Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne respectively effectively portray two likable stooges. But in the film’s production notes Daniels expressed his surprise that the original film became so popular.
“‘Dumb and Dumber’ was not for everybody, but everybody watched it. When we made it, we all thought 14-year-old boys would be impressed, but who knew the demographic would be from 8 to 80? I have businessmen coming up to me in the airport to tell me that it is their favorite movie, and I think that’s because the Farrellys tapped into Lloyd and Harry’s sense of innocence. We all felt a lot of pressure if and when we made the next film.”
The sequel appropriately begins 20 years after the first film, and because the best segment of the movie occurs in the first 10 minutes, I will not reveal anything about it. Let’s just say something happened to separate Lloyd and Harry for 20 years, and when they are reunited, Harry tells Lloyd that he desperately needs a kidney transplant, but so far he has been unable to find a donor. They finally decide to visit Harry’s parents, but they really can’t help because Harry is adopted, and neither one of them is a match. Before they leave, however, Harry’s dad gives him a stack of mail that has been accumulating since he left home.
As Harry looks through the mail, he finds a letter postmarked 1991 from Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), who says she is pregnant and wants him to call her. Instead of calling Fraida, the two decide to pay her a visit at her funeral parlor, where they learn she had a daughter, whom she put up for adoption and who now may live in Maryland. From this point on, the film turns into a road trip that takes Harry and Lloyd all the way to Texas in an attempt to find Harry’s daughter and convince her to give him a kidney.
“Dumb and Dumber To” certainly lives up to its title because it’s incredibly stupid, and if you saw the original, don’t expect anything fresh or original here. It’s nothing more than the same old same old with Harry and Lloyd making complete asses of themselves wherever they go. Here are a couple of samples of he dialogue. When you’re finished laughing, feel free to read on.
Harry Dunne: Whoa, Lloyd. Check out the hotties at 12 o’clock.
Lloyd Christmas: That’s three hours away. Why can’t I check ‘em out now.
Harry Dunne: This is my associate, Dr. Christmas.
Dr. Lewis Meldman: Christmas, as in the holiday?
Lloyd Christmas: No, as in the tree.
For those who enjoy completely mindless humor with plenty of scatological references, this film will probably delight them. As far as I’m concerned, the funniest sight gag occurred early on, and after that everything went downhill in a hurry. In case you’re interested, the film contains one of the most tastelessly gross things I’ve ever seen, but I’m sure there’s a market for that too.
Of course the driving force behind this movie is the chemistry between Carrey and Daniels, and I’ll admit it’s still there after 20 years. These guys play off one another beautifully, and in the film’s production notes, Carrey explained why people like Harry and Lloyd.
“I had seen bits and pieces of Dumb and Dumber a number of times, but this time I sat and watched it and was laughing and couldn’t believe some of the stuff we did. We captured lightning in a bottle. Lloyd and Harry have just stayed with people and were even closer to me than I realized. It’s great to feel the love people have for them. These characters have become like furniture in people’s homes, so it’s not like we’re going to have to educate people about the first movie and these characters.”
Also in the production Peter Farrelly, who along with his brother, Bobby, wrote and directed both films, added some insight into the appeal of Lloyd and Harry.
“Lloyd and Harry live with such joie de vivre, and people everywhere love seeing that spirit. Despite that Lloyd and Harry are constantly trying to put one over on the other, they care for each other, and they’re all that each other has. There’s something about that which opens your heart to them and makes them really lovable.”
It’s a sad fact of life that some people age better than others, and movie stars aren’t any exception to this rule. If you happened to see “Body Heat” (1981), you’ll remember Matty Walker, the stunning femme fatale, was played by Kathleen Turner, who portrays Fraida in this movie, and if I had not seen her name in the credits, I wouldn’t have recognized her.
“Dumb and Dumber To” is not the kind of film I like, but I was able to continue watching it for one reason – Jim Carrey. His uncanny comedic gift makes him able to render even the most mundane things funny. Think of “Liar Liar” when he was trying to convince himself that a pen wrote a certain color. Throughout this film he constantly uses his rubbery face to his advantage. And one of the film’s very few highlights is watching Carrey make something as simple as eating a hot dog a comic moment.
Here’s the bottom line. This film is not as good as the original, and it contains some disgusting attempts at humor. But the one thing it does have going for it is the comic genius of Carrey, and for that reason it earns the final score of a moronic five. Just in case you are wondering, if a third film in the series shows up, I won’t be going. Even I’m not that dumb!