Dumb and Dumber To takes place 20 years after the events of the extremely popular first movie. After faking a catatonic state for 20 years, Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) re-unite for another adventure.
This time around, Harry is in need of a kidney transplant. When all hope seems lost in finding a donor match, they discover a long-lost letter from Harry’s ex-lover Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), informing him that she was pregnant back in 1991. When they track down Fraida, they discover she gave the baby girl up for adoption.
With Harry needing a new kidney and Lloyd in love with Harry’s daughter, the two imbeciles hit the road and embark on a cross-country road trip in search of Fanny, now going by the name of Penny Pichlow (Rachel Melvin). The result is another another dumb and hilarious adventure.
Dumb and Dumber is one of those films with a big cult following. Most people tend to rank it in their top ten of favorite comedy films. It’s hard to deny; while crude, it was a clever slapstick and a smart comedy, and it launched the screen writing and directing careers of writers/directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly and solidified Jim Carrey’s acting career for his high energetic slapstick performances and quick improvisation to make scenes funnier. The idea of a sequel has been bounced around for years, and while many fans of the original were eager to see a sequel, many thought a sequel would never live up to the reputation of the original.
To nobody’s surprise, Dumb and Dumber To doesn’t live up to its predecessor.
I went into the movie with low expectations, but all I hoped was that it would be better than Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, the god-awful prequel that was released in 2003 (which, by the way, the new movie contradicts). As it turns out, Dumb and Dumber To is vastly superior to the “prequel” in humor, plot, acting and directing, but it lacks the substance that made the first movie so beloved.
What made the original movie so beloved was that Harry and Lloyd weren’t completely stupid. If anything, they were more ignorant of their surroundings than completely oblivious. There were moments throughout the film where they were clueless, but at least they could function in society. Dumb and Dumber had a grounded approach that felt somewhat realistic; certain events seemed believable with scenarios that could happen in real life.
The problem with the sequel is that Harry and Lloyd come across as ridiculously stupid. Instead of the ignorant, goodhearted individuals audiences and fans loved in the first movie, the sequel makes them come off as childish idiots. Their behavior and antics were over-the-top, and the situations they found themselves in didn’t have that realistic feel that worked in the first movie. In the original, the supporting cast was grounded and came off as authentic. With the sequel, characters seemed more cartoon-like for the sake of a cheap laugh, much like supporting characters in The Three Stooges (2012), which was also written and directed by the Farrelly Brothers. The tone, and even just the look of the movie, didn’t have the same feeling as the original, and there were moments where CGI backgrounds and effects were used that felt completely out of place. If it wasn’t for the involvement of Lloyd and Harry, this would be a sequel to The Three Stooges.
One of the biggest disappointments with the movie is that it tries too hard to top the original, which resulted in many jokes missing the mark or falling completely flat. Some of the jokes in Dumb and Dumber To are more crude than the original, and at times went too far, turning from funny to just flat out disgusting. There were also jokes that were rehashed scenes or lines from the first movie. It’s disappointing that Farrelly Brothers couldn’t come up with something more than recycling some old jokes, but they deserve credit for not making the movie a complete carbon copy of the original, such as The Hangover Part II.
Although the movie has its downsides, there were moments that were absolutely hilarious that only Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels could pull off. There were several parts in the movie where Lloyd would blurt out something hilarious, and it leaves one to wonder how much was according to the script and how much Jim Carrey improvised during filming.
As for the rest of the cast, we get to see the return of Brady Bluhm as Billy, the Blind Kid from 4C. Billy’s grown up since the first movie, but he’s still duped by Lloyd and Harry with humorous results. Laurie Holden and Rob Riggle are the “bad guys” of the film, but they lack the menacing intimidation the villains in the first movie had. Kathleen Turner brings the infamous Fraida Felcher to life, but unfortunately the only thing she adds is the face. The audience already knows her reputation of sleeping around in the first movie, and the second movie backs it up, meaning there’s no character development. The lone bright spot belongs to Rachel Melvin, who plays Harry’s long lost daughter, adding charisma that makes her stand out from behind the shadow of Carrey and Daniels.
Like most sequels, Dumb and Dumber To doesn’t live up to the original, but it still provides some entertainment. This isn’t a movie to be taken seriously, so leave your brain at the door. This is a movie to go see if you’re in need of a stupid comedy and some laughs. Dumb and Dumber To isn’t for everyone but if you’re a fan of the original, it’s worth seeing at least once. If you’re easily offended or don’t care for crude humor, then don’t waste your time. However, if you do go, be sure to stay for a scene after the credits.
Grade: 3 out of 5