Dumb and Dumber To, 2014
Directed by The Farrelly Brothers
Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom, Kathleen Turner
20 years since their first adventure, Lloyd and Harry go on a road trip to find Harry’s newly discovered daughter, who was given up for adoption.
Fans of Dumb and Dumber have been clamouring for a sequel for a long time. The original is thought to be not just one of the funniest comedies of the decade, but possibly of all-time. It was a box office smash and came out at a time when anything Jim Carrey touched turned to gold, but those times have changed. Carrey hasn’t released a decent comedy since Bruce Almighty and his co-star Jeff Daniels has moved on to serious dramas and impressive performances in TV shows like The Newsroom. Twenty years is a long time.
In short, Dumb and Dumber To is embarrassing. If you want more critique, Dumb and Dumber To is embarrassingly unfunny.
For that last twenty years, Lloyd (Carrey) has tricked Harry (Daniels) that he’s comatose, forcing his best friend to visit him in a care home, because he thought it was a funny prank. Following his release, the pair learn that Harry is suffering from kidney troubles but can’t find a suitable replacement, that is until he discovers that he fathered a child many years ago. And with that, the duo embark on another road trip to find Harry’s daughter and “hilarity ensues” along the way.
In the TV show Friends, Joey was thought to be the simpleton of the group. He was always the last one to get a joke or he would make comments that sounded intelligent to him, but were fairly dense to everyone else. But as the series progressed and the writers found that the audience really thought Joey’s idiocy to be endearing, he got progressively dumber. So much so that by the tenth season, he didn’t resemble the same character we saw in the first episode of the show’s run. Homer Simpson, the patriarch of The Simpsons, has followed a similar journey. Once just slightly foolish, Homer Simpson is now a man who feels like he would struggle to tie his own shoelaces. In Dumb and Dumber To, Harry and Lloyd don’t feel like the same characters we fell in love with twenty years ago and instead just come across like parodies of them. There’s a famous review of Tobe Hooper’s bizarre Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 which states that it didn’t just feel like it wasn’t directed by the same man who gave us the seminal Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but by someone who had never even seen Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The same can be said for Dumb and Dumber To.
The movie is painfully unfunny and it tries everything it can to get a laugh from its audience, failing every single time. The slapstick humour isn’t funny, the jokes aren’t funny and, more embarrassingly, Harry and Lloyd aren’t funny. Carrey and Daniels are really trying their best, but the script and direction gives them absolutely nothing to work with. Along with Rob Riggle, this trio deserve better than what they were given and, at times, it’s difficult to watch them constantly falter. What’s worse is that you can almost hear The Farrelly Brothers yucking it up off camera, thinking that Dumb and Dumber To will be the movie that will shoot them back to the top of the comedy market, having served up garbage for the vast majority of their career.
And Dumb and Dumber To is the movie that really exposes The Farrelly Brothers for the hacks they are. The popularity of Dumb and Dumber made a lot of people believe that the duo had talent, and successful releases like Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary backed this up. But Dumb and Dumber came out at a time when Carrey was at the height of his career, following blockbuster comedies The Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Me, Myself and Irene works for the same reason, though at the tail end of his popularity). Kingpin is a funny and under-appreciated movie, but it’s carried by Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray – and with a line-up like that, you would struggle to make an unfunny movie. And as for There’s Something About Mary, remove a certain poster-shot of a semen-created quiff and the movie has little to offer. So what are you left with? Shallow Hall (disgusting), Stuck on You (terrible), The Hearbreak Kid (brain-breaking), Hall Pass (I’ll pass, thanks) and The Three Stooges – a movie that feels insulting to the word “drivel”. Jim Carrey is not the man he was in 1994 and as such, Dumb and Dumber To falls flat because it can’t rely on him to elevate it.
In a way, it is nice to see Carrey and Daniels take on these roles again as it’s like catching up with old friends, but nostalgia can only carry it so far. And like any comedy sequel, Dumb and Dumber To tries to ride the Nostalgia Train – but this train only stops at Disappointment Station, Dreadful Road and Unfunny Blvd. Insultingly, the closing credits replays clips from the first movie – which just reminds you how much better and funnier it was. On the Flickering Myth Podcast, staff writer Scott Davis suggested that it would have been better if they’d reprised these characters for a Funny or Die skit, something for the fans that could have thrived on the nostalgia wagon without overstaying its welcome. But as a feature length movie with no funny or credible jokes, Dumb and Dumber To is flat out embarrassing. In the end, Dumb and Dumber To is as bad, if not worse, than the much-maligned prequel Dumb and Dumberer.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.
You can listen to the Flickering Myth Podcast review of Dumb and Dumber To using the player below: