'Dumb and Dumber To'
‘Dumb and Dumber To’ is pretty much guaranteed to get bad reviews. So did the first one, even though it’s now considered a comedy classic. Why? Well, because it’s stupid, nonsensical, lowest common denominator, episodic, immature and meaningless. You can’t argue with those criticisms. That’s exactly what the sequel is supposed to be and it’s friggin’ hilarious in how it scrapes the bottom of the toilet bowl. What more could you want?
All right, plot summary time… This should be interesting. Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are pretty much the same. Well, maybe not at first. You see, Lloyd has been faking a coma for 20 years as a goof in pretty much the best possible gag that the Farrelly brothers could have conceived to explain the long gap between movies. From there, Harry reveals that he needs a kidney transplant and promptly learns from his Asian parents that he’s adopted, so there’s no hope of getting a family donor from them. Thankfully, he also discovers that he has a long lost daughter who Lloyd wants to bone. So, the duo hit the road to save a life and reunite a family.
Sure, that’ll do. It’s not like plot was the strong suit of ‘Dumb and Dumber’. That movie was just about putting some lovable morons on the road and cramming in as many laughs as possible along the way. That formula works well here too. Eventually, a pointlessly generic crime plot also enters the picture to add stakes to the third act, as is the Farrelly way. (See also: the original ‘Dumb and Dumber’, ‘Kingpin’, ‘The Three Stooges’, etc.)
Sure, you could tear apart the script for being lazy, but that’s not really the point. Did anyone give even a marble-sized turd about the briefcase kidnapping plot in ‘Dumb and Dumber’? Hell no! I’ll bet you didn’t even remember that was there. In a movie like this, the plot is just a necessary hanging post for gloriously stupid jokes and lovably stupid characters, and the Farrellys have plenty of those to go around.
First of all, you’ve got Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels making an unexpected decades-late return and killing it. They barely look older and effortlessly dive by into their affable numbskulls like they wandered off the set of the piss-beer bottle scene from the first movie yesterday. It’s a joy to watch them revel in idiocy and play low humor with more commitment than Daniel Day Lewis in a historical epic. It’s immediately clear that no one was more excited to make a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ sequel than the two stars, who should (at least in theory) feel like they’re above it. Carrey and Daniels’ sheer joy is palpable and contagious. These guys are just flat-out fun to watch together, and somehow their one-note characters seem to have at least two notes with them in charge.
Perhaps it’s unfair to suggest that Carrey and Daniels were the only ones involved with the production who were happy to get the band back together. The Farrelly brothers clearly had a blast too. Like their deeply underrated ‘Three Stooges’ flick (seriously, if you like the Stooges and haven’t seen that yet, do yourself a favor), ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ feels like vintage Farrellys at their best. All of the problems that have plagued their work since ‘Me, Myself & Irene’ (an uneasy reliance on sentimentality, a fear of total tastelessness, needless attempts to impose morals or reality on their joke factories, inconsistency, tedium, etc.) are gone here. The boys are back doing what they do best – creating a rubber reality that plays like a cartoon and reveling in the schoolyard joy of cracking jokes about poo-poo, farts, getting hurt, sexy-time, and being an idiot. They have a distinct ability to make lewdness feel sweet, live-action slapstick feel animated, and jokes about the disabled and minorities feel like a celebration of otherness rather sneering.
At their best, the Farrellys have an innocence that no one else can match. They might push buttons, but only in a “Can you believe I just said that?” way that makes the audience feel complicit in a private joke. When the Farrellys are on, they’re like the unholy lovechild of Z-A-Z and vintage Harold Ramis. All of which is just a long and convoluted way of saying that the Farrellys are really f’ing funny when they’re cooking, and ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ serves up some of their best work since the 1990s.
Now, it must be said that ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ (great goddamn title, by the way) does suffer a bit from sequelitis. There’s no reason for this story to continue and the Farrellys didn’t exactly come up with an original twist on their 20-year-old formula. This is a remake as much as a continuation and occasionally crosses the line between callbacks and lazy repetition. Still, if you’ve ever watched a comedy sequel before, you’ll know to expect that.
Is the sequel as good as the original? Well no, but it’s comparable and packs in more genuine laughs than any other movie claiming to be a comedy this year. Nevertheless, some people will hate it. Guess what? Plenty of people hated ‘Dumb and Dumber’ before it played enough times on cable for everyone to embrace it as a guilty pleasure. A movie this willfully dumb and irreverent shouldn’t be for everyone. That’s part of the fun. All you have to do is ask yourself one question: Do you really want more ‘Dumb and Dumber’? If so, you just got it, stupid. If not, please don’t spoil the fun for idiots like me. It’s been a long time since a fart joke smelled this good.
I loved ‘Dumb & Dumber’, but for some reason the commercials made this look terrible (to me). Painful, even.
Then I heard a radio commercial. ‘Check out the hottie at 12 o’clock.’ ‘That’s in 3 hours, why can’t I check her out now?’
That was funny, and clever. Perhaps they just picked the worst jokes for the trailers. It gave me hope.
I’ve never even seen the first one, although the Farrelly’s KINGPIN is one of my all-time favorite comedies. I’m just not a big fan of slapstick humor.
Three seasons of The Newsroom have gone a long way to preparing Jeff Daniels for jumping back into this role. 🙂
I wonder if this will set the box office on fire. The Farrellys haven’t had a hit in a long time, and Jim Carrey, eh, needs a hit too. I wasn’t a big fan of the original (too young to get most of the jokes in 1994, probably), but I’m quite interested in this sequel.
This was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. A sad, painful unfunny rehash of past jokes and lame new ones. With chronic overracting and an uninteresting plot…massive letdown.
Are you sure that you’ve seen Dumb And Dumber?
I remember wathing the first one in the theatre and loving it, I still love it to this day. Watch the first and second one back-to-back and tell me you can’t detect the enormously steep drop-off in quality. It didn’t even feel like a movie most of the time but rather a collection of rambling, unfunny skits.
Obviously it’s not as funny as Dumb And Dumber because you can’t make lightning strike the same way twice. But I laughed more at Dumb And Dumber To than any other comedy this year. If anything, I’d say the first movie has an even more fractured and episodic narrative if you want to make that criticism. Is there even one scene involving that kidnapping plot that’s funny? The narrative of this one was definitely more successful. In terms of funny or not funny, that’s just a personal taste thing. Comedy is about as subjective as it gets. Made me laugh, so it worked. Doesn’t mean that it had to make you laugh. (And yep, I watched them both back-to-back as well)
I just thought the difference in quality between the two was night and day and was really surprised you gave the sequel such a positive review, but comedy is subjective like you say so I suppose we’ll just agree to disagree.
I think you’re wrong about the kidnapping plot in the first one though, there’s lots of funny scenes! What about when Lloyd grabs the briefcase and falls off the jetway? Or when they poison the hitman with hot peppers? Or the scenes in the hotel near the end “Harry! You’re alive!….and you’re a horrible shot!”, “but what if he shot you in the face?” Etc. These scenes and quotable lines of dialougue exist because of the kidnapping plot,
surely it has to have some merit.
Yeah, I did laugh excessively at the sequel and even went back to see it again. What can I say? I should have been more specific with the kidnapping. I mean in any of the scenes without Harry and Lloyd. There’s about 15-20 minutes of awkward serious kidnapping material in D&D1 that constantly drags the movie to a hault. Whereas all of that stuff in this movie at least had one big joke (usually from Rob Riggle) to keep the train running.
I dunno, I suppose the scenes without Harry and Lloyd are among te weaker in the film, but Mike Starr still makes me laugh when he says shit like: “Gasman, now how the hell do they know that I got gas?” Or “You don’t kill people you don’t know! That’s a rule!”
But yeah I see where you’re coming from.