Dumb and Dumber To

In theatres now

In my books, 1994’s Dumb and Dumber is a classic comedy. Sure, writers/directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly have made better and funnier movies (Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary), but the naively hopeful performances of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels elevated that goofy, juvenile material in an undeniably endearing fashion.

The sequel, Dumb and Dumber To is utterly shameless, seemingly willing to go anywhere for a gag, no matter how puerile or taboo. The screenplay is inventively silly and unabashedly crude, alternating bodily fluids with absurd plot twists that may cause even the snootiest of audience members to crack a reluctant smile.

There’s an innate likability to Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey). We actually care about these underdog losers, thanks to the strong lead performances. Unfortunately, the Farrellys’ attempts to outdo themselves often falter, straying too far into absurdity. During these moments, you wonder: “But if they’re that stupid, how could they possibly have...”

The film also overstays its welcome with an almost two-hour running time. Like too many comedic failures, when that pesky third act rolls around, we’re forced to sit through the resolution of a paper-thin plot orchestrated merely as an excuse to make dick and fart jokes, albeit amusing ones.

Dumb and Dumber To is most successful when our dopey heroes can play off of the more grounded, realistic comedic foils that surround them. It’s when these two cartoon characters (which they basically are, by the end) are left to their own devices that the film threatens to fall apart.

As a comedy, it’s a mild success. I frequently laughed, but so did the families with surprisingly young children in the rows behind me. If you loved the original or simply haven’t hit puberty, you’ll probably enjoy Dumb and Dumber To. Very mildly enjoy it.

Published in Volume 69, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 26, 2014)

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