It has been twenty years since the Farrelly brothers made their directorial debut with Dumb and Dumber. This sequel, also directed by the Farrelly’s, never lets you forget it. It also never lets you revel in as much idiocy and slapstick humor as the first one did. The first one, one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in my life, completely understood what it was going for and pulled it off quite tremendously. This film, however, finds the Farrelly brothers at their most tired and uninspired. But wait, there’s more! If you think it’s funny when characters pull down their pants, stick their butts into the open glass divider of a limo, fart loudly, then raise the divider up, trapping the smell in the back of the car for the backseat passenger to choke on, you’ll find quite a bit to enjoy in Dumb and Dumber To. Luckily, I am one of those people. This isn’t as good as the first movie, nor is it a “good movie,” but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t burst out laughing on more than a few occasions.
I could waste time explaining the plot of the movie, but you don’t really care about that. I could tell you that the movie picks up twenty years after we last saw Harry and Lloyd and involves them tracking down Harry’s long lost daughter that he just discovered he had. I could tell you that the daughter’s side plot contains familial betrayal, where some characters may be planning to kill another character by poisoning. I could tell you that Harry’s daughter is about to make an important speech at a scientific seminar of sorts. And I could also tell you that her adoptive dad has some sort package that could change the world. I could tell you all of this, just as I could tell you all the stuff about Mary Swanson (in an opening moment of this film, we see that Harry is still calling her Mary Samsonite, which I found to be quite hilarious) if I were reviewing the first one. Is it essential to the plot? Yeah, kinda. But you, the reader, just don’t care. Because when it comes to a movie about our old pals Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas, all you care about is Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas. Oh, and of course, you care about their meaningless escapades. Thankfully, Dumb and Dumber To has more than its fair share of nonsensical dumbness.
Unquestionably, the best thing about this movie is seeing Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back on screen together. They’ve both come a long way since the 1994 hit, which is enough to cause worry from any true fan of the original. Jim Carrey went through a nice string of dramatic work (The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and then suffered into a bit of a comedic slump after 2005. That being said, it was the movies themselves that were bad, not Carrey. I hated The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but I thought Jim Carrey was hilarious in it. His Colonel Stars and Stripes was the best part of Kick-Ass 2. Jeff Daniels on the other hand, hasn’t suffered through a slump. He’s made a real name for himself in serious dramatic work, almost as if completely erasing his comedic persona. From Gods and Generals, The Squid and the Whale, Good Night and Good Luck, and Looper, to two HBO series in John Adams and The Newsroom, Daniels has certainly done a fine job at delivering a sense of strong dramatic capabilities. And what I find incredible about Dumb and Dumber To (that’s probably the only time I’ll ever use “incredible” and “Dumb and Dumber To” in the same sentence) is Jeff Daniel’s complete commitment to the role. I have seen John Adams and I’ve spent two seasons with his character Will McAvoy in Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom and it’s really something to see a man who is usually so dramatically firm just lose himself in the role of a complete idiot. His mannerisms are exactly as they were twenty years ago, and while the script doesn’t let him do as many memorable actions as the first one did (“FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN NUMBER!”), he still has a great time just being Harry.
But let’s not forget about Jim Carrey completely. He rocks the chipped tooth and Spock-like hairdo with skill Eric Christian Olsen (Lloyd in the terrible Dumb and Dumberer) only wishes he could possess. Carrey, already confirmed and verified as the master of physical comedy, has his moments here, and they are strong ones. At one moment, while inside the limo I mentioned earlier, Carrey turns to look at the passenger and begins a montage of ridiculous faces at him, twisting his face into shapes only he himself can manage. When the person asks, “What are you doing?” Carrey simply responds, “I forgot.” It’s a hilarious moment that gets a lot right about the genius of Jim Carrey. Also lookout for a scene involving a hotdog, which is a hilarious few seconds that rivals the best physical comedy Carrey has ever done.
The two, on screen together, have tremendous chemistry, as expected. They yell at each other, laugh at each other, and pull pranks that we only think are funny because they think they’re funny. Bill Murray makes a nice cameo as a meth-cook inside Harry’s apartment, and there is another nice cameo after the credits for fans of the original. However, the script is overstuffed, piling in plot point after plot point after plot point until the point of exhaustion. The third act is bloated, even though I found that it contained the biggest of the laughs. On the whole, it isn’t necessarily good, but if you love the ridiculousness of the original, you’ll find just enough here to make the movie worth a watch.
Dumb and Dumber To (2014) 109 mins Rated PG-13 for for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references Starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels Written by Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Mike Cerrone, John Morris, Sean Anders Directed by The Farrelly Brothers