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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look: 10.53%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad: 31.58%
Total Crap42.11%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Dumb and Dumber To
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by Brett Gallman

"Just when you thought they couldn't possibly be any dumber..."
2 stars

“Dumb and Dumber To” feels like a cruel joke not unlike the one Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) springs on buddy Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) at the beginning of this belated sequel. When we catch up with the dimwitted duo, we learn that Lloyd’s been faking catatonia for the past twenty years as a gag, which is met with great enthusiasm from his friend, who still can’t help but point out that the ruse robbed Lloyd of his prime years. You can’t help but feel the same about the gang behind this film—they really waited two decades to unleash this?

Even writing that sentence breaks my heart a little bit. Having waited so long for a follow-up to the Farrelly Brothers’ beloved—and still seriously funny—original film, I would have loved nothing more than for “Dumb and Dumber To” to be a rousing success. At best, it’s at least more worthy than the ill-conceived prequel. At worst, it still repeats many of that film’s mistakes and still proves that some stories are better left alone, especially when they just inspire retreads running the fumes of nostalgia and not much more.

Like so many comedy sequels, this one looks towards the comforts of familiarity in the form of rehashed dialogue, repurposed gags, and a repeated road-trip structure: this time, the two are off in search of Harry’s long-lost daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin) in the hopes she’ll be willing to donate a kidney for her ailing father. As diverting from the well-worn path is apparently not an option, they also stumble onto another elaborate plot—it turns out Penny is just as dopey as her old man, so she fails to recognize that her stepmom (Laurie Holden) is conspiring with the handyman (Rob Riggle) to poison her adoptive father (Steve Tom) and claim an inheritance.

She also leaves behind an important package she needs to deliver on his behalf, but Harry and Lloyd are there to conveniently take up the task, which is continually bungled by various hijinks, many of which echo the beats of their previous adventure. It’s not a story so much as it’s a safety net of callbacks and flat jokes.

Criticizing the Farrellys for playing it safe is weird, right? Twenty years ago, these two were transgressive as hell without resorting to desperation or constant mean-spiritedness. “Dumb and Dumber” especially hit that sweet spot between vulgarity, impishness, wit, and stupidity, but this sequel only doubles down on about half of that. When it goes for its big gross-outs, it’s too outrageous and dumb to find a counterbalance—despite the title, the original film was actually quite clever and sweet. In fact, “Dumb and Dumber” is one of the smartest comedies ever made, and that was its best joke—and one that has gone largely unforgotten by this sequel.

Instead, “Dumb and Dumber To” falls into the trap of self-parody. You’d think that this were actually the third or fourth sequel because that’s generally how long it takes for a franchise to lose its grip on itself—in this case, the twenty year layoff must have caused everyone involved to lose touch with what made the original so special. Everyone remembers the really broad, ridiculous stuff, like Harry shitting his brains out and Lloyd fantasizing about going “Enter the Dragon” on a waiter, but the film’s true brilliance lies in both its genuine wit and its fondness for its two goofballs. While the sequel still certainly sides with Harry and Lloyd, the two aren’t always the same loveable losers during this new round of often mean-spirited, nigh-sociopathic exploits. (Yes, the original had its share of meanness, but the scales have tipped too far in that direction here.)

Part of this falls on the six different screenwriters aiming for the most obvious gags. Occasionally, some actual cleverness manages to sneak through the procession of eye-rolling dialogue (“show us your tits!” Harry and Lloyd yell to a female speaker at the science convention they crash) and overly silly plot developments—sure, the original was pretty out there, but it remained just grounded enough. “Dumb and Dumber To” dispenses with any pretense of believability; at times, it feels like Harry and Lloyd have regressed all the way back to the sort of idiocy from the prequel that should never be mentioned, much less evoked.

Carrey and Daniels shoulder some of this as well. Neither ever climbs back into his character’s skin with consistency, though the former is comes closer, perhaps because Lloyd was always the more broadly played of the two. The understated dynamic between these two is right there in the title, of course, with the completely oblivious Lloyd playing off of his good-natured, shaggy hound-dog buddy. But when both act like complete cartoons as they do here, the dynamic isn’t as pronounced, and the film continues to lapse into self-parody. Carrey and Daniels’s aren’t completely off, especially since there are moments when it’s like we never left these two behind; however, it’s just noticeable enough to be off-putting.

Imagine catching up with an old friend and discovering they’ve become hyper-aware versions of themselves from twenty years ago: that’s “Dumb and Dumber To,” a film that tries too hard to live up to its name by, well, not really trying—it often feels like everyone assumed they had a license to be completely stupid without acknowledging the brains behind the original film.

It’s sort of odd how the film manages this feat because the actors’ enthusiasm and reverence for the material is obvious. Maybe there’s too much of that, as there typically is with comedy sequels. Many of the laughs—including the one found after credits—rely on reflex rather than actual legwork. It exercises muscle memory when it should be assaulting your funny bone. Because it’s coasting on so much good will, you almost feel obligated to laugh at “Dumb and Dumber To” to combat the sinking feeling that maybe it’s just not going to work.

You know what it’s like when your favorite band reunites and pledges to recapture their old sound and the result is phony and out-of-touch? Maybe you listen to it a few times and try to talk yourself into it, but you eventually ignore it and write it off as a misfire. “Dumb and Dumber To” is destined to be that movie: just nostalgic enough to earn some loyal chuckles but ultimately something you'll want to tuck away and forget.

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originally posted: 11/19/14 14:50:55
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User Comments

8/24/15 mr.mike Fair sequel has some decent laughs. 3 stars
1/23/15 David disgusting, gross, pathetic excuse for a movie 1 stars
1/21/15 Langano Some good laughs but doesn't measure up to original. 3 stars
11/23/14 The Big D Not as good as the original but plenty of slapstick humor--Jim Carrey still has it! 4 stars
11/18/14 Anthony Barker Much better than I expected. 4 stars
11/17/14 Bob Dog Almost as good as the original, and it'll get better and better with repeat viewings!!! 5 stars
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  14-Nov-2014 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Feb-2015


  DVD: 17-Feb-2015

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