Comedy Dumb and Dumber To

Super Smart Philm Review: Dumb and Dumber To

November 14, 2014Ben Mk


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Stupid is as stupid does...

Looking back on Dumb & Dumber today, it still holds up remarkably well. In fact, you might even say it's something of a comedy classic, for it helped make a household name out of Jim Carrey and launched the careers of Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who went on to enjoy greater success with films like Kingpin and There's Something About Mary. Now, the Farrelly Brothers, Carrey and Jeff Daniels have reunited for the I-Can't-Believe-They-Actually-Made-It sequel you've been waiting for, Dumb and Dumber To. And though their characters, Harry and Lloyd, may be older, they're most definitely not wiser.

   

Forget about the numerical implications of its phonetically challenged title — Dumb and Dumber To isn't the first time a followup to the 1994 film has been brought to the big screen. Remember 2003's Dumb and Dumberer, starring Derek Richardson and Eric Christian Olsen as a young Harry and Lloyd? Don't worry, no one else does either. And it's probably better that way. Because frankly, these are roles that Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels were born to play.

So, what have Harry Dunne (Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) been up to in the two decades since their first comic misadventure? It turns out, not much. Left in a catatonic state after being rejected by his dream girl, Lloyd has spent all that time wasting away at a mental institution, where his ever-faithful friend Harry has been visiting him every Wednesday like clockwork. But don't despair, it's all an elaborate goof concocted by Lloyd. And within five minutes, the two of them are back sitting on the couch at their old apartment in Providence, Rhode Island.

Of course, they don't stay there for long, as screenwriters Sean Anders and John Morris drop a couple of out-of-the-blue revelations — namely, that Harry needs a new kidney and that he has an attractive 22-year-old daughter named Penny (Rachel Melvin) whom he never knew about — that prompt the pair of doofuses to embark on yet another road trip. This time, they're off to the great state of Maryland, to help Harry find his long-lost kin and perhaps persuade her to donate one of her kidneys to save Harry's life.

When they get there, however, Penny's Nobel prize-winning adoptive father, Bernard (Steve Tom), informs them that she's just left for a TED-like conference in El Paso, Texas, to deliver a speech on his behalf. But in her absentmindedness — she does take after her biological dad, after all — she's left a very important package behind.

Said package contains Bernard's "billion dollar invention", and, naturally, Harry and Lloyd are the guys tasked with getting it safely to Penny. But little do they know that Bernard's cheating wife, Adele (Laurie Holden), and her lover, Travis (Rob Riggle), are scheming to take Bernard out of the picture so they can get their grubby hands on $5 million in insurance money. And when they hear how much the invention is worth, they want it too. So much so that they're willing to put a bullet in Harry and Lloyd's empty noggins to get it.

The story may not be a complete, note-for-note re-hash, but it does offer up more than its fair share of parallels for viewers familiar with the first film. Once again, Harry and Lloyd find themselves delivering a valuable item to a girl Lloyd pines for. Once again, the plot revolves around a series of idiotic misunderstandings. And once again, the moronic duo find themselves unwittingly stumbling into the crosshairs of a couple of murderous criminals. But hey, why mess with a proven formula?

The good news is that the approach works fairly well, largely because of the vast number of years separating this film from the original. There's a fitting analogy to be found in an brief exchange between Harry and Lloyd, when Harry asks Lloyd why he decided to wait twenty years to reveal he'd been faking his mental breakdown. "Wouldn't it have been just as funny if you stopped after ten years?" Harry asks. To which Lloyd replies, "Yeah. But not as." Likewise, had Dumb and Dumber To been released shortly after its predecessor, audiences would surely have written it off as a blatant cash-grab. But as it stands, the plot similarities and callbacks play to our collective sense of nostalgia. For there's a lot of satisfaction to be had in watching the two leads slip fondly back into their old roles.

As for how well the movie stands up on its own merits, humor-wise — well, it can be somewhat of a mixed bag. But rest assured, its game cast — including Kathleen Turner as Penny's mannish biological mother, Fraida — is certainly one of the film's strong suits. On the whole, there's no shortage of sight gags, verbal puns, gross-out jokes and other farcical acts of juvenile delinquency (committed by middle-aged men) to tickle audiences' funny bones. Sure, the Farrellys are pitching low-brow comedy aimed at the broadest spectrum of moviegoers. But with Carrey and Daniels as their salesmen, you're bound to buy into some of it.

The Bottom Line Dumb and Dumber To is a milestone of sorts for the Farrelly Brothers, as it marks their first ever sequel. So it's only fitting that they would choose to revisit their first, if not the most popular, entry in their filmography. Granted, the end result may not be a comic masterpiece, but given the unexpected success of the original, it's probably fair to say that only time will tell if this followup has the same staying power. Nonetheless, it does succeed in satisfying moviegoers' nostalgia, especially for Carrey's rubber-faced antics. Now if we could only get proper sequels to The Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Ben Mk








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