Getting Dumb Not a Lot of Fun
It’s been 20 years since best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) last hit the road together. Now, after two decades spent with the latter worrying desperately about the former, doing all he can to nurse him back to health (don’t ask), they must hit the pavement once again, forced to make the trek to El Paso, Texas to find a relative neither of them knew even existed. See, Harry’s in need of a kidney and, low and behold, he’s got a daughter he didn’t know about, the product of a lustful exploratory one night stand with local mortician Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) in the back of a van two long decades ago.
I guess I never understood just how big the hold 1994’s Dumb and Dumber had over people. I hated it 20 years ago. Watching it again this week, I still don’t particularly care for it now. This Bobby and Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, The Three Stooges) opus was never my cup of tea to begin with, the film never striking the right balance between stupidity and humor as far as I was concerned. I just don’t find it funny, the comedy an almost unendurable 107 minute slog I almost can’t believe I was able to sit through more than once.
Yet two decades after the fact here we are again, Lloyd and Harry reunited for more mentally challenged adventures filled with clueless lunacy, mistaken identities, flying cars, poopy diapers, exploding birds, politically incorrect put-downs and so much more harebrained bits of stupidity I almost don’t know where to begin. With Carrey and Daniels back giving it a go, with the Farrelly’s again at the helm, Dumb and Dumber To dines to tread where few comedy sequels have dared go before, hoping audiences who flocked to the first one will return for a second helping.
In all fairness, any movie that goes out of its way to remind audiences just how terrific the great Kathleen Turner is can’t be all bad. For me, at least, this one still comes remarkably close to being so all the same. I fully admit these types of comedies are seldom for me. The slap-dash go-for-broke gags, the unrelenting stupidity, it’s beyond rare that I’m taken even slightly by them, so with that in mind it’s hardly a surprise this sequel left me frozen solid. At almost two full hours in length I just didn’t care to be watching it, and even with a few unanticipated chuckles, giggles and laughs sprinkled around like bits of confetti falling out of an envelope, there just weren’t enough highs to make sitting through the picture and its numerous lows start to finish even slightly tolerable.
There’s an out of nowhere gag with a train that captured my attention. There are also a few sight gags with an ingeniously camouflaged Rob Riggle (in a dual role) a found worthy of a couple guffaws. The film also marks the arrival of probable star Rachel Melvin (who’d already made an impression on me earlier this year with her work in the still-to-be-released comedic creature feature Zombeavers) as Harry’s winningly oblivious daughter, Penny, the young actress an effervescent ray of sunshine whenever she appears on screen.
As for Carrey and Daniels, they’re all-in, throwing themselves into this loopy lunacy with the same degree of gusto and enthusiasm they did 20 years ago. With that being so, yes, the pair do generate a handful of laughs, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that were so. Problem is, I just don’t care for their characters, don’t particularly like spending time with the either of them, especially Lloyd, and why anyone else out there feels the opposite I’ve honestly never been able to figure out. These guys do nothing for me, nothing at all, and while the breadth and the strength of their friendship is impressive who they are as human beings and how they choose to relate to the world and the people around them is continually anything but.
I’m probably the wrong person to be reviewing Dumb and Dumber To. As much as I always try to let every film I see work its magic on me devoid of expectation or what I might presuppose going in, sometimes that’s incredibly difficult to do. Considering my disdain for the first film coupled with my usual dislike of scattershot comedies of this sort, this one was going to have a tough time impressing me long before the Universal Studios’ logo even appeared on the screen. Be that as it may, I hold to my assertion that this is a bad sequel and an even worse comedy, and I’m hard-pressed to believe even diehard Lloyd and Harry fans are going to find much to cheer about.
Review reprinted courtesy of the SGN in Seattle
Film Rating: 1.5 out of 4