Friday, November 14, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To


Review by Joseph Anthony

Twenty years ago the Farrelly brothers broke onto the comedy scene with a lowbrow, yet instantly classic comedy called DUMB & DUMBER starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Consisting mostly of throwaway gags and one-liners, the movie is endlessly quotable and firmly ingrained in American pop culture.

The Farrelly brothers found further success in KINGPIN and THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY in the years following DUMB & DUMBER. Since 1998, though, the brothers have meddled in mostly mediocre, sometimes divisive, material (ME, MYSELF & IRENE, SHALLOW HAL, HALL PASS). But fans have held out hope that the brothers could find that spark again, and in DUMB AND DUMBER TO they give it their best shot. For better or worse, Harry Dunne and Llyod Christmas are back.


When we meet again with our low-IQ friends, we find out Lloyd (Jim Carrey), has been pranking Harry (Jeff Daniels), pretending to be a mentally ill patient in a psych hospital for the last 20 years. This silly but way over the top joke is a good indicator of the difference between this DUMB & DUMBER and the original. This is a film with no sense of reality at all, something the original did nicely, even if sparingly.

Once reunited, Harry informs Llyod that he fathered a child in the early 90’s with former crush, Freda Felcher. He is also in need of a new kidney. Llyod immediately concocts a plan to track down his newly discovered daughter, Penny, and use her as the kidney donor. The story, like it’s predecessor, is constructed around the trip to find a girl. This time the story seems a bit more fragmented and less focused, but let’s be honest, no one is showing up to the theater hoping for a plot full of depth and complexity.

The question is more or less this: Why revisit a comedy classic 20 years later with such a lackluster premise and hardly anything to add to the story? One can only assume the gang just wanted to get back together, which may have been fun for them, but not so much for the viewers. Ultimately, neither Daniels or Carrey's career will benefit from revisiting Harry and Lloyd.

The original film had moments of seriousness, even if surrounded by stupidity. The characters were our focus and, despite all its ridiculousness, we cared about Harry and Llyod. DUMB AND DUMBER TO ditches almost everything that made the first so charming and laugh out loud funny. Harry and Lloyd have become more obnoxious with age and in some ways, crueler. For each prank pulled in the original film, there's 5 more this time around. DUMBER AND DUMBER TO proves that in comedy, less can be more. It’s most exciting moments are the callbacks to the original: music cues, the dog van, classic lines and characters of old.

Hollywood produces many great drama, action and animated films every year. A great comedy is a very rare commodity at the theaters. DUMB & DUMBER is a timeless comedy and fans have every right to hold the franchise to a higher standard. Comedies are not immune to expectations. 

Even for the die-hard DUMB & DUMBER fans, the sequel is worth missing. You won’t find many new laughs and the characters haven't aged as well as you’d hope. The novelty of seeing Harry and Llyod again certainly is there, but that alone isn't worth the price of admission. Pop in the original and appreciate what the Farrelly brothers were able to get right the first time. 1 out of 4 stars

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