I had a lot of trouble deciding which Oscar-nominated film I should watch next, so I did what any reasonable person would do: I watched Dumb and Dumber To instead.
Hard to believe, but it’s been 20 years since the Farrelly Brothers brought us the original Dumb and Dumber (it was actually their first movie), a comedy that has its fair share of critics but has somehow withstood the test of time with many die hard fans still able to recite the film’s famous lines. I’m not sure if I had even hit puberty when the original was released, but I do recall it being largely forgettable albeit with a couple of huge belly laugh moments.
The sequel starts off strong, with Harry (Jim Carrey) having been in a vegetative state and relegated to a mental institution since pretty much the end of the first movie after his romance with Lauren Holly fell apart. It’s a brilliant way to allow the film to pick up right where the first one left off after 20 years, and reminds the audience just what kind of nitwits we are dealing with.
It is then revealed that Lloyd (Jeff Daniels), who had been looking after Harry all this time, might have a hot young daughter named Penny (Rachel Melvin), whom he conceived with an old girlfriend (Kathleen Turner). And so begins a wacky adventure cross-country to track this long lost daughter down at a KEN Convention, while an evil duo (played by Laurie Holden and Rob Riggle) tries to get their hands on some priceless invention created by Penny’s adopted father. Trust me, it’s a lot less complicated than it sounds.
If you’ve seen the original, you’ll know what type of humour you’re in for. Most of it is really stupid, juvenile stuff most people won’t find funny, though like the original there is the occasional moment of genuine wit that harks back to some of the Farrelly Brothers’ best work. I admit I laughed a good half a dozen times, the rule of thumb for an acceptable comedy. However, it remains to be seen whether there are any iconic scenes in this film that people will still remember years down the track (I don’t think there are). There were of course many more misses than hits, but because they came so fast and furiously it was easy to just move on to the next one.
Carrey’s career has tapered off, but he is in his best form as Harry. It’s like he hasn’t missed a beat. As for Daniels, it’s great to see him being a moron again after witnessing his Emmy-winning turn in The Newsroom. Kathleen Turner is surprisingly good too, while Rob Riggle is always a welcome addition to any comedy ensemble.
My guess is that Dumb and Dumber To will probably enjoy the same fate as its predecessor. Those who love it will love it and watch it over and over, while those who don’t find the humour endearing will think it is the worst thing ever. I do feel, however, that it is the type of film that people will tend to remember for the handful of classic gags rather than for all the other failed or lame jokes.
3 stars out of 5
PS: I was surprised to discover that the Farrelly Brothers have actually had a very stellar career (perhaps it was the atrocious Movie 43 that threw me off, though that POS was only produced by one of them so it doesn’t technically count). They have obviously fallen from their peak since 1998 after There’s Something About Mary, but even7 their worst effort, most likely the remake of The Heartbreak Kid, is just below average by today’s lowly comedy standards. The original Dumb and Dumber is arguably their second or third best film — depending on your thoughts of Kingpin. As for Dumb and Dumber To, I’d like to think it falls somewhere around the halfway mark if you were to rank all their films in order.