Dumb and Dumber To
I’ve talked about how hard it is to pull off intentional stupid characters. The writing needs to be sharp and the characters still needed to be relatable. The most difficult explanation about stupid humor is it’s appeal; trying to sell the style of Monty Python, Ren and Stimpy, and the more recent Adventure Time cartoon. They all share the common notion to taking comedic situations and doing something unexpected with it. What makes it hard to go with it is continuing to be unexpected. Even if you watch Monty Python’s acts long enough, you’ll notice a pattern.
YouTube has become the modern home for a lot of stupid content that people watch over again. It might be some hyperactive video gamer or a simple fail video that sways you over, but I can bet we have had at least one thing that we know is dumb but we found funny anyway. That is where Dumb and Dumber comes in. The 1994 film built a big audience thanks to it’s own unexpected gags that were more evident in the writing then the physical stunts. To work in things like a “John Deere letter” and “the most annoying sound in the world” was comedic genius. So with that, Dumb and Dumber To has a lot to live up to.
After a twenty-year vacation, we zoom in on our pair, Lloyd Christmas (played by Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (played by Jeff Daniels) as they are still two of the biggest idiots to walk the Earth. We find that Lloyd has been in a mental institution (all for a gag) while Harry had been paying him visits. The gag is revealed and the two go back to their apartment, which hasn’t changed at all (they still have the 10 poster), but something else may be up.
Harry reveals that he has a kidney issue and is in need for a new one. After a visit to his adopted parents, he finds a postcard from an old girlfriend that he may have fathered a child. He and Lloyd go visit Fraida Felcher (played by Kathleen Turner) who tells them that the baby girl is now 22 and lives with her father who is a scientist. They then visit her parents who reveal that her name is Penny and is currently at a KEN convention (a play on the TED Talks) in El Paso. The two set out on another road trip, hoping that Harry will go home with a child and a kidney.
Dumb and Dumber To is a tough movie to review as I went in with low expectations. The first movie is one of my favorite comedies of all time and I knew that there was no way that any sequel could add anything to make it better. I can say that I had fun watching this as the audience I was with was laughing out loud throughout the movie. I laughed myself, but probably not as much as they did.
My issue with the movie isn’t that the jokes and story is stupid (what would you expect?), but rather that maybe Dumb and Dumber To plays a tad too safe with it’s story. Sure it’s a road trip for a different reason, but when you notice the first film’s pattern, you can start to identify what this movie is going to do. You know the two are going to mix up information to confuse the villains, go after an impossible girl, and retaliate against pranks. Speaking of which, Lloyd had his limits in the first movie, but I felt he was a little too mean as he barley cares for his actions or even his best friend Harry.
In the end, did the jokes and situation give me enough laughs? Yes it did. The only way your going to know if your going to like this movie is to watch the original first. Either you’ll be fine with the stupid humor or consider the material too dumb (no pun intended). For what the film did, Dumb and Dumber To really tried hard to match the original and I can tell both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are fighting for their reputations to prove that they can still be funny.
I’ll give this three Shaggin Wagons out of five. I’ll take Dumb and Dumber To for what it really is; a nostalgic return to see what our lovable morons are up to after twenty years. If you’re going in to get an Interstellar-like experience, search else ware. If you’re hoping to a grand comedic masterpiece, it’s not here. But if you want to catch this, try and get to a screening where you know a lot of people will be watching; that’ll make the screening twice as fun.