08192017Headline:

“Dumb and Dumber To” review

By Jeff Boudreaux

Dumb and Dumber to

 

“Dumb and Dumber To” is not a great film by any means, nor was it intended to be seen that way. However, it does accomplish what the Farrelly Brothers set out to do and that is to entertain their audience and make them laugh. With tremendous sight gags, good lines, and impeccable timing, the filmmakers have created a sequel that surpasses the original film.

Filmed and set twenty years after “Dumb and Dumber,” Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) is in a nursing home and has been in a “catatonic state” for the last two decades. His best friend Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) visits him every day and changes his diapers. When Harry informs Lloyd that he must go away for a while due to personal reasons, Lloyd reveals that it was all a gag and the two proceed to have a great laugh over the twenty wasted years of their respective lives. If you don’t find humor in that then you probably will not like this movie, but I digress.

Back at the apartment they once shared, Harry informs Lloyd that he needs a new kidney. The two embark on a quest to find a matching donor, which brings them to Harry’s parents who happen to be Asian. After the unexpected news that Harry was adopted, he retrieves a piece of twenty-year-old mail from a girl who says she’s pregnant. The two visit the woman, Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), who gives them the address of her daughter Fanny who she’s been trying to reconnect with after giving her up for adoption.

This brings the pair to a residence where Dr. Pichlow (Steve Tom) is being slowly poisoned by his gold-digging wife Adele (The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden) and handyman Travis (Rob Riggle). Their daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin), formerly Fanny, will be giving a speech at a science conference since Dr. Pichlow is sick and unable to attend.  When we finally meet Penny and realize that she’s as dumb as Harry and Lloyd, you have to wonder why anyone would want her speaking on their behalf!

Armed with a photo of Penny (which Lloyd falls instantly in love with) and a very important box that she forgot at home, the boys travel to the conference with Travis in tow. Getting there is half the fun since Rob Riggle’s Travis is a perfect foil for our dummies, picking up where Mike Starr (“Mental”) from the first film left off. Once the boys arrive at their destination, unbridled hilarity, hijinks, and mistaken identities ensue.

Fans of “Dumb and Dumber” can see where all of these events mirror those from the first film. I have to hand it to the Farrelly brothers for managing to keep the laughs fresh while tying everything in for their core audience. Upon leaving the theater, I realized that I had laughed a lot more than I did in 1994 for its predecessor. Obviously, twenty years is a long time and I decided to view “Dumb and Dumber” again the very next day. This only solidified my position that “Dumb and Dumber To” is much funnier. Maybe it’s because Harry and Lloyd are dumber than they were in that first film. This would make sense in their universe, since “older and wiser” doesn’t exist here.

The jokes also happen to be more seasoned this time around. Such as Lloyd telling the parents of their deceased friend “Pee Stain” that they thought he was still alive because his obituary read “survived by.” Or Harry and Lloyd riding together on a bicycle (built for one) while it is connected to a rack on the front of a bus. This is indicative of the moronic humor that populates the film. We are laughing at these characters because we don’t know how “not to.”

Written and directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, “Dumb and Dumber To” is certainly not for all tastes. There will be lots of negative comparisons to the original, but I think that Carrey and Daniels have fully realized the potential of what these characters could be. When “Dumb and Dumber” was released, Jim Carrey was a bright young comedian. Here he is an accomplished actor playing that same role and nothing is lost, but rather his comic talents have evolved. To highlight Carrey’s growth as a comedian, there’s a scene where he is eating a hot dog that would make silent icons like Chaplin and Keaton proud.

The humor in this film is relative, not every gag will resonate with viewers. There’s a good deal of comedy that would be considered politically incorrect and some people are bound to be offended, but lest we forget, it’s propagated by two of the most ridiculous morons in screen history. That’s why every other character on screen would be considered a foil or “straight man,” since no one else is on their level of intelligence. And trust me, that’s a good thing.

**1/2 (two and a half out of four stars)

 

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