Movie review: ‘Dumb and Dumber To’
DUMB AND DUMBER TO
Directed By Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Kathleen Turner, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom
Rated PG-13, Comedy, 110 minutes
When we first met best buddies Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) in “Dumb and Dumber” they were a pair of 30-ish dopes whose love of flatulence, scatology and practical jokes were preferences we imagined, or at least hoped, they’d grow out of.
Twenty years on the reunited pals still exhibit the same level of immaturity while embarking on a shared madcap adventure. They have grown older but are otherwise unchanged.
From the minds and cameras of brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the film speaks to the 8-year-old boy living — to some extent — inside every man. The problem arises from scripting the pair as complete morons and then expecting viewers to believe them capable of functioning as adults without landing themselves in jail and ultimately becoming residents of an assisted-living facility for the mentally handicapped.
During the past 20 years Lloyd has pretended to be in a catatonic state while staying at an idyllically situated mental institution. Faithfully schlepping his way to visit Lloyd and personally care for his friend each week, even changing Lloyd’s diapers as needed (an act of fraternal love repeatedly shown on-screen), Harry has been a loyal friend.
Then one day when Lloyd feels the joke has run its course, he reveals his regular idiot self to Harry, resulting in a “gotcha” moment that finds both men declaring Lloyd’s prank “the best joke ever.” As a viewer it’s impossible to comprehend Harry and Lloyd’s failure to regret the price exacted on many lives by Lloyd’s 20-year deception.
Other jokes expecting the audience to participate in stupidity that knows no boundaries include Harry and Lloyd’s surprise to learn that Harry was adopted by his Chinese parents, who are therefore relieved to find they are unable to provide Harry with the kidney donation he requires.
While Harry’s outfits merely mark him as a slob, Lloyd, outfitted in a bowl haircut and clothing so square that even squares would be repulsed, functions as the addled mastermind behind their friendship. It is Lloyd who leads Harry on a merry chase to find Harry’s long-lost daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin), not because she might be able to provide Harry with the kidney he needs but because Lloyd falls in lust with the girl’s photograph provided by Penny’s mom (Kathleen Turner as Fraida Felcher).
Women can only resent the Farrelly brothers’ utter failure to make the aging actress appear more, rather than less, attractive or the foul remarks that are scripted concerning her jowls.
We feel that Lloyd is a real creep here, despite the Farrellys’ mistaken presumption that Carrey’s charms will win us over. On the way to Penny’s house the duo rents a two-bed motel room. Dressed in blue and red pajamas suitable for a child, 50-year-old Lloyd nauseatingly contemplates using the photo of his best friend’s 22-year-old daughter for his evening’s satisfaction.
In order to inherit a fortune the convoluted plot calls for Penny’s evil stepmother (Laurie Holden) to put a hit on both Penny and her would-be dad. The hit man is the family gardener, handyman and the step mom’s lover, played by Rob Riggle.
Appearing as the film’s most relatable doofus (which ain’t saying much), Riggle’s true cinematic purpose is to be pranked by besties Lloyd and Harry or to prank them in return — revenge pranks that are important enough to take precedence over killing them. Several of these unexpected moments pay off, partly because Riggle’s facial expressions tell the story of his feelings and thoughts. Daniels’ Harry is the other character we can almost believe when he goes subtly cross-eyed in a confused state or displays other organic reactions to Lloyd’s pathetically over-the-top schemes and snafus. Otherwise, because the comedy banks so heavily on rubber-faced Carrey, who is mainly an unfunny annoyance placing himself front and center even when the gags have nothing to do with him, the film is mostly unpleasant.
The Farrellys’ success in making us laugh is surely a very small percent of what they must have envisioned. I lost a minimum of 50 IQ points during my screening, but even that wasn’t sufficient to allow my enjoyment of this poorly written and realized “dumb” comedy. Proof positive that “beauty fades, but stupid is forever.”