Well, it’s definitely dumber
Dumb and Dumber was a film about two nitwits without any social consciousness or sense of self-preservation, and they were absurdly happy about it.
And then Dumb and Dumber To happened. Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey show the original was an accidental lightning in a bottle film which landed at the right time, place, and tone. With 20 years to prep, the once grand Farrelly Brothers return to their initial theatrical stomping ground – to make the same movie, without the lightning.
Whereas the concept of a road trip movie with Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) is still viable, these characters are given nothing to do other than recreate their journey in excess. Dumb and Dumber To over exerts itself to react to the first comedy classic rather than merely acknowledge it happened. Where they once duped a portly hitman with hot sauce, here they blow one up with fireworks and run him over with a train. Where Lloyd remarked on a big gulp, he now takes one in the groin.
The subtly of Dumb and Dumber, almost suave in its execution, is thrown out for a bevy of easy gross outs. Harry and Lloyd are not loveable in their idiocy; they’re excessively dangerous sociopaths who plunge into the depths of recycled fart jokes. If there exists a social media equivalent these two, it’s the six year old who Tweets “boobs” sans parental discretion.
But the tiring duo know no better. They’re oblivious to societal changes; therein lies the frail humor. In a slight hint of irony, the film itself never grasps progression either. This sequel is distanced from timelessness, turning into an awkward uncle who tells his best material at the holiday dinner while no one laughs. All of the slow motion gawking and grandmother molesting in Dumb and Dumber To is laborious all for the sake of embarrassed chuckles. So much of set-up and delivery feels as if this was intended as a sketch comedy off-shoot, then sloppily edited together. The film has so little flow, pay-off, or cohesion as to be embarrassing.
Ultimately, Harry & Lloyd return only to give unnecessary answers. Dumb and Dumber To exists because of one throwaway line of character exposition in the first, leading to the existence of Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), the resulting daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin), and a twenty-something bird-loving Billy (Brady Bluhm) – endless nostalgia without any consequence.
If anything has changed, it’s Jim Carrey. The manic Ace Ventura and Mask Jim Carrey is not the same as Yes Man and Eternal Sunshine Jim Carrey. He’s settled with age, an endless entertainer but a different one than before. Dumb and Dumber To’s Carrey is a failed reproduction, flailing endlessly with a stale of sense of timing and the proficiency of a line reader. It’s painful to watch.
Maybe it’s time to get these two some help.