Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Turner, Laurie Holden, Rob Riggle, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom
Release Date: November 14th, 2014
It’s been twenty years since Dumb and Dumber (1994) arrived in theaters. The world has changed since then. From the election of two new presidents in the United States to the countless revolutions that have occurred overseas, this planet is a much different place. Fortunately –or unfortunately, depending on your perspective— Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) haven’t changed.
The two main characters from the original are still as dumb as they were two decades ago.
Their lives, of course, have changed since then. Lloyd has spent the past several decades incapacitated in a home, where he seems to have lost all control over his bodily functions. Harry, ever the good friend, visits him often— changing his diapers and speaking to him. The two can’t be separated, it seems. As the beginning of this comedy sequel shows though, Lloyd never lost control over his body. His incapacitation was an elaborate joke— one that took years and years to carry out. Did this joke get a laugh? Surprisingly, yes.
Despite the fact that this gag is featured in most of the film’s commercials, the entire situation was not and some of the jokes in this scene do work.
It was a pleasant case of the film being better than expected and that happened several times in the theater. Although many of the jokes do fall flat, a few surprisingly hit well and it was hard not to laugh at the stupidity of the two main characters and the adventures they found themselves in.
Like in the original, the plot is very simple. After Lloyd reveals that he was “just playing” with Harry (he’s clearly psychotic but nothing’s physically wrong with him), Harry discovers a long-lost postcard. His former girlfriend Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), it seems, was pregnant twenty-two years earlier with his child. Harry has a long-lost child he’s never met out there so he wants to find her and reconcile their relationship. Thus, both Harry and Lloyd travel to locate Harry’s missing daughter.
Directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly seem to know exactly what their audience is looking for here and they oftentimes deliver what the audience craves. As a bonus, there are countless references to the original here alongside the sight gags, potty humor and silly situations that one would expect in a Dumb and Dumber movie. There are several scenes that fall dismally flat, never earning one laugh with the audience I watched the film with. But there are also scenes that work despite their uneven premises. For every three jokes that don’t work, there’s one that does and the chuckle that follows that one joke is enough to make the entire scene worth it.
On a ratio of jokes that don’t work to ones that do, Dumb and Dumber To fails to deliver. However, if you look at the jokes that do work and the comic energy of Carrey and Daniels, this movie is worth the price of admission. The manic charisma of Carrey has been missed over the last few years and it’s a return to form for him here. It’s also a return for the Farrelly brothers, whose last few features failed to deliver at the box office.
While it’s never great, this is still a solid comedy that will likely make fans of the original laugh. That’s enough for me.
Review by: John Hanlon