Dumb and Dumber To - Movie Review

Dumb and Dumber To movie
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels star in the sequel to the 1994 smash "Dumb and Dumber"
I had the chance to catch an advanced screening of Dumb and Dumber To Wednesday night at a charity event here in Knoxville, Tennessee in a packed Regal theater.

Personal Background

The original Dumb and Dumber film is still standard fodder in my everyday conversations. You know, pulling the random, "I like it a lot" or "pretty bird" quote out and injecting it into casual conversations. As sad as it is to admit it, the original film released in 1994 may be one of the more influential of my miserable life.

However, this Dumb To isn't the first film released in the Dumb and Dumber series since the original (you might remember the God-awful "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd" from back in 2003). Because of that failed prequel attempt, I entered the theater pretty apprehensive about where this latest effort would wind up. However, the inclusion of the film's original stars and directors had me convinced if there was a sequel to see, this would be it and there was potential.

Where We Pick Up in Dumb and Dumber To

Harry and Lloyd riding a deer sculpture in the movie Dumb and Dumber To
Harry and Lloyd riding a deer sculpture of some sort.
This latest Dumb flick picks up 20 years after the original left off. The original cast, well, the only two that matter, Harry and Lloyd are played by the original actors (Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey).

Without both of these guys the film simply wouldn't have happened and frankly, I don't know if anyone could imagine a credible sequel not having both Daniels and Carrey in the mix.

With that in mind, I'm not sure if they shot this film sequentially but I had a hard time getting into the rhythm of the film for the first 25-30 minutes. Timing seemed off to me, Lloyd Christmas (Carrey's character) took on more traits from his The Cable Guy title character than what I remember of the original Lloyd Christmas.

Basic Plot of Dumb and Dumber To - No Spoilers

Shortly after the start of the film we learn Harry is in need of a new kidney and without it, he's facing a death sentence. With no family outside of estranged parents and Lloyd unwilling to part with one of his vital organs, they set out to reconnect with Harry's mother and father.

While visiting his parents, Harry picks up his old mail and discovers a postcard from Fraida Felcher (a love interest mentioned prominently in the first Dumb film). In the note she wrote 20 years ago, Felcher alerts Harry that she is pregnant. So, Harry and Lloyd set out to find her and what they hope will be a healthy son or daughter with a kidney Harry can harvest for his own use. The boys are on another road trip and the Farrelly Brothers (directors) are hoping you'll think hilarity ensues.

Secondary Characters

Rob Riggle as a correspondent for The Daily Show several years ago
Rob Riggle in his Daily Show and Comedy Central years.
For the most part, Daniels and Carrey carry the film, as you'd expect. However, a few prominent secondary characters get decent screentime and for the most part performed admirably. To ensure no spoilers are spilled, I'll just divulge the actors involved.
  • Rob Riggle - The Daily Show, 21 Jump Street, The Hangover
  • Laurie Holden - The Walking Dead
  • Kathleen Turner (Fraida Felcher) - The Virgin Suicides, Peggysue Got Married
  • Rachel Melvin - Days of Our Lives
  • The Blind Neighbor & Bird Kid - Dumb and Dumber (the original actor +20 years is back)
  • Honey Boo Boo's Mother - Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (talk about bad-timing... just as TLC cancels her show for involvement with a child molester, her cameo appearance hits theaters in Dumb To)
There were rumors that former NHL star Cam Neely (Sea Bass) was set to appear in the film. I tried to keep an eye out for him but I didn't see Sea Bass on screen. If he was there, it certainly wasn't milked for all it could have been. The diner scene with Sea Bass in the original Dumb film continues to be a classic comedy scene ("kick his ass Sea Bass!") so I think had Neely signed on for a role, it would've been pretty prominent.

Overall Impressions

As I mentioned, the film starts really poorly and struggles to find the chemistry and charisma that made the first Dumb film so good in the first place. 

There were portions of the storyline that brought genuine laughs but for the most part, this effort tries too hard and goes too far. Some of the brilliance of the initial installment was that it was non-offensive humor (for the most part) that wasn't overtly sexual or dirty. Plainly put, the humor in the original was so dumb it was smart.

In this case, the comedy crossed a bit of a line with racial jokes and more sexual innuendo than simpletons like Harry and Lloyd are supposed to be capable of. While "believability" may not be the best word - the caliber of humor simply wasn't fit for the characters we know and love. The writing wasn't as clever and while every sequel gets accused of this - it felt to me, as a viewer that this film was done out of obligation or profit-motives rather than having a great script for a film that had to be made.

That said, if you are a fan of the original, it's worth seeing. In a lot of ways the film will bring you back to the 1990's and I think that was done purposefully. A lot of the old gags and taglines make a reappearance, which delighted the crowd, much to my chagrin.

This film isn't likely to have me quoting any new lines from it for 20 years, but it'll keep you entertained for 90-minutes and, these days, I think that's about all you can ask for. It's worth seeing but make sure you lower your expectations as you take your seat or you'll leave sorely disappointed.

Finally, the Farrelly Brothers are now helping breed rumors that a Dumb and Dumber 3 movie could be made.  Based on this film, there's nothing left in the tank so a third installment would validate my fears that this series is now completely about money with no regard or respect for the original film's legacy.