The 400-Word Review: Dumb and Dumber To
By Sean Collier
November 20, 2014
Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and the Farrelly Brothers waited so long to film a sequel to 1994’s Dumb and Dumber that it actually became timely again.
In the years soon after the original film became an acclaimed, giant hit, a sequel would’ve been a blockbuster. But 10 years on, it would’ve felt desperate (as the basically-buried prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, did). Once a film passes from recent hit into classic, though — say, 20 years later — a long-awaited sequel, especially with Carrey returning to the outlandish, physical comedy that made him a star, seems like a great idea again.
Now, a confession: I think the Farrellys are generally awful. I see no charm in There’s Something About Mary, hated latter-day works like Fever Pitch and Hall Pass and find the likes of Stuck on You and Me, Myself & Irene to be head-scratching at best. But combining their slightly aggressive, efficiently ruthless comedic style with perfect characters created by Carrey and Daniels was a stroke of genius. The original Dumb and Dumber was sharp, inventive and hilarious; that’s probably more on the stars than the filmmakers, but its appeal is undeniable.
So could the Farrellys overcome more or less everything they’ve done in the intervening years and recapture the magic of ’94? The answer: sometimes. Fortunately, Carrey and Daniels are back to prop them up. The two effortlessly reclaim the characters, and are just as delightful to watch today; they also haven’t done much noticeable aging, which helps. The Farrellys arsenal varies wildly, with some jokes hitting dead-on and others landing as staggeringly tone-deaf atrocities; even the latter category, though, is helped by the stars’ earnestness.
The plot echoes the structure, rather than the circumstance, of the original: Harry (Daniels) needs a new kidney, and conveniently learns that he fathered a daughter (Rachel Melvin) 23 years ago. Lloyd (Carrey), smitten after seeing a photograph of the youngster, insists that they travel cross-country to track her down; there’s also a repeat of the package-delivery subplot, but it hardly bears mentioning.
Some members of the sizable supporting cast (Kathleen Turner, Steve Tom) shine, while others (Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden and a new titleholder for worst cameo ever whom I won’t spoil) are out of place. But Dumb and Dumber was a product mostly created by Carrey and Daniels. With them in the sequel, little can go badly wrong.
My Rating: 6/10
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark