DUMB AND DUMBER TO

Reviewed by GREG KING

Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Stars: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Kathleen Turner, Steve Tom, Don Lake, Bill Murray, Tembi Locke, Brady Bluhm, Patricia French.

In 1994 Jim Carrey dominated at the box office with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb And Dumber, deliberately lowbrow comedies which used his rubbery face and manic energy to good effect. More recently though Carrey seems to have lost his box office clout (indeed he backed out of promoting his Kick-Ass sequel due to concerns over the level of violence). In need of another hit, he has acceded to the demands of fans and given us this belated sequel to Dumb And Dumber. Let’s just pretend that the awful prequel Dumb And Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd never existed and things will be fine.

This film picks up the characters twenty years later. Lloyd (Carrey) has apparently been in a comatose state and confined to a nursing home, and he has been regularly visited every Wednesday by Harry (Jeff Daniels). But then Harry tells Lloyd that he won’t be able to visit him anymore as he needs a kidney transplant. Suddenly Lloyd emerges from his coma, telling Harry that he has been playing an elaborate joke on him for the past two decades.

As they settle back into their regular routine, Harry discovers a decades old postcard from their old friend Fraida Felcher, informing him that she has a daughter, who was quickly given up for adoption. Believing that the daughter he never knew existed will be able to provide a perfectly matched donor organ, Harry and Lloyd set out on a road trip to track her down. Which brings them to Dr Pinchelow (Steve Tom) an eminent and very rich scientist and his much younger and scheming trophy second wife Adele (Laurie Holden).

A convoluted plot device sends our two nitwits to KEN, a high profile science and technology convention, where things quickly spiral out of control with mistaken identities and mayhem. Many of the conference attendees here are played by writers of the tv series Family Guy.

Filmmaking siblings Peter and Bobby Farrelly also hit a purple patch a couple of decades ago with their mix of raunchy humour and heartfelt storytelling that included the original Dumb And Dumber and There’s Something About Mary. However when once they were at the forefront of cutting and ribald comedy they seem to have also lost much of their relevance in recent years and much of their humour seems dated. Nonetheless, their affection for Harry and Lloyd is obvious.

Carrey and Daniels have a combustible chemistry and despite a twenty-year absence, they quickly fall back into the characters. They have an easy going rapport that gives the material much of its charm, and they generate sparks again as the two endearingly dense and naive imbeciles who misread most situations. Some of their silly routines are a little familiar, but the childlike antics of the pair this time come across as slightly annoying and a bit more mean spirited. Carrey still looks fairly similar, but there is something a little creepy and manipulative about his character this time around. Daniels hasn’t aged as well, and he brings a rather tired look to his Harry. This is also a change for Daniels who has more recently re-established himself as a more serious actor, winning an Emmy for his work in the tv series The Newsroom.

This sequel is essentially a retread of many ideas from Dumb And Dumber, and the film is liberally laced with references to the original film, but also contains plenty of clever in-jokes at the expense of many of the cast themselves. There are lots of visual gags, although much of the humour this time around is hit and miss, and surprisingly there are several flat spots throughout.

The original was pretty unsophisticated stuff, featuring lots of physical humour and an overabundance of toilet humour. The humour is more racist, homophobic and politically incorrect this time around, and the more raunchy elements of the plot come courtesy of co-writers Sean Anders and John Morris (Sex Drive, We’re The Millers, etc). This time around the tone is a little uneven, as no less than six writers are credited.

There are plenty of clever and unexpected surprise cameos, including Bill Murray who plays Harry’s new roommate, the meth dealing Icepick. Rob Riggle plays a dual role here as twins, one of whom is a former special operations agent out to eliminate our two heroes. Rachel Melvin brings plenty of perky energy and humour to her role, and does a great job of playing Penny as a clueless bimbo. Kathleen Turner plays Freida, and is a good sport as she becomes the brunt of several jokes about her less than feminine looks and being a “titanic whore”.

The original Dumb And Dumber still stands up after repeated viewings even twenty years later. It’s doubtful whether the passage of time will be quite as kind to this sequel.

★★☆

 

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