When word came down that a proper sequel (let's all try to forget that 2004 disaster) to the 1994 smash hit comedy Dumb and Dumber was being made the world let out a collective sigh. Not exactly the reaction stars Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly were likely expecting. But that didn't stop them from forging forward and whether or not anyone really wanted another adventure with Harry and Lloyd, we were getting it.
The key to making any sequel work is getting all the key creative talents behind the original back in the saddle, but when it takes two decades to make that happen the question is no longer whether it will be good or not (although that is still a factor of course), but if anyone will care. With recent late-to-the-party sequels like 300: Rise of an Empire, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Scream 4 all performing poorly despite delivering everything fans asked for, does Dumb and Dumber To even stand a chance? Read the full review after the break.
Review Vital Stats:
Projector Type: Digital 2D
Film Rating: PG-13
Film Runtime: 1 hr 49 min
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: November 14, 2014
Loves: Dumb and Dumber
Likes: Jim Carrey (most of the time), Jeff Daniels
Neutral: Sequels that arrive 20 years late
Hates: Dumb and Dumberer
Last second cameo removed: by Jennifer Lawrence as a young Fraida Felcher.
|Lloyd wasn't exactly in as bad a shape as he let on.|
There were a lot of factors working in the original Dumb and Dumber film's favor, the most of which was Jim Carrey who was just coming off the one two punch of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask. Another factor were directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly whose special brand of humor was still fresh and hadn't been recycled to the brink of exhaustion yet (There's Something About Mary would later be the peak of their popularity). Mixing gross out humor and sight gags with often lovingly ignorant, hateful and insensitive pokes and jabs at everyone and everything ranging from the handicapped to the overweight, it's safe to say they were at least partially responsible for pushing the boundaries for what was acceptable in our comedies.
|His name is butthole...makes sense right?|
Let's get some of the more obvious questions out of the way first shall we? First of all, is it as good as the original? No, not really. Is it at least funny though? Yeah, it has its moments but once again it just isn't as funny as the original. Why isn't it as funny though? Well, that is the million dollar question isn't it and one that isn't so easily answered. While Harry and Lloyd are basically up to the same blissfully childlike antics as they were in the original film, somehow either due to the writing or just that this style of comedy isn't made anymore, Dumb and Dumber To is missing that special spark that made the original an instant classic.
|As expected, some of their pranks go a bit too far.|
With that said, Dumb and Dumber To surprisingly straddles that line fairly well. While it can stray too far into recycled material territory every now and then it has enough tricks up its sleeves to provide even die hard fans with some unexpected and often hilarious situations. Case in point is when Lloyd and Harry come across their old Mutt Cuts truck they sold in the original film. At first it seems like the writers are trying a bit too hard to remind viewers of the original but quickly reveals itself to be a rather inspired bit of comedy that expertly plays on our expectations.
|Only these two could pull off a joke this stupid.|
Harry and Lloyd are usually at their most hysterical when interacting with other, smarter, people. One of the best sequences in the first film is when the hitman hired to kill them joins them as a hitchhiker. Their scenes together quickly became legend, "Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?", and in the sequel a very familiar set of circumstances places them in mortal danger again with another hired killer with similarly hysterical results. Is it a bit too close to the original? Yeah, but you can't argue with the resulting comedic gold it mines.
|Lloyd's daydreams aren't quite as funny this time around.|
Just like the original film, the characters may be dumb and the story may be a bit too simple, but beneath its exceedingly dumb exterior lies a really smart comedy whose jabs at just about everything (even poor Stephen Hawking gets lampooned here) will have most howling in laughter one minute and then feeling ashamed that they laughed the next. That is not easy comedy nor is it highbrow comedy, but it certainly is dumb smart comedy at its most hysterical.
Now, this is not a perfect film and while many of its jokes stick the landing there are enough standouts that will fill the air with crickets as well. Just about everything with Penny is fairly bad. It's difficult to know who to blame, the writing or Rachel Melvin's performance, but it just doesn't work the way the directors were probably hoping for. She is supposed to be the female version of Harry and it just comes off as really pedestrian. Other one shot jokes like the zamboni and the guys taking a shower by a nuclear plant then radiating a green glow are some gags that just didn't register either.
|This would have been considered too far 20 years ago, today...not so much.|
The real surprise here though is that even with those faults and sometimes being a bit too derivative of the original film (and featuring a brand of comedy that faded from popularity over a decade ago), the film works much better than it probably should. Sure, there aren't any classic scenes like the snowball fight or Harry letting go on Mary's broken toilet, but what is here is a more than passable comedy and quite frankly one of the best films Jim Carrey has been in for a very long time. Dumb and Dumber To will never achieve the same status as the original, but fans looking for more dumb adventures with Harry and Lloyd should be pleased.
Let's be honest here, the minute you heard that a sequel to Dumb and Dumber was being made you knew instantly whether or not if you were going to see it, regardless of any bad or good reviews. But that won't stop me from putting out a recommendation anyway, mostly in hopes of getting anyone on the fence about seeing it that extra push they need. Just don't go in expecting too much from it and any fans of the original will have a dumb good time with this dumb sequel.