I happily admit that I’m one of those guys who thought “Dumb and Dumber”, the goofball comedy from 1994, was absolutely hysterical. The film introduced us to Harry and Lloyd, two of the most good-natured and well-meaning morons ever to appear on screen. Your appreciation for these two characters and their story hinged on your tolerance for absurd and idiotic humor. When done well I love that type of comedy and “Dumb and Dumber” did it really well.
Twenty years (and one awful unclaimed prequel) later the boys are back in “Dumb and Dumber To”. The writing and directing duo of the Farrelly brothers return and, after wading through a difficult production process, the true sequel finally hit the screens. But I have to say I had mixed feelings about bringing these characters back. As much as I adored the first film I wasn’t convinced that the Farrelly brothers could recapture that same moronic magic.
About a third of the way through “Dumb and Dumber To” I was thinking they had recaptured that spark. The characters were twenty years older, but they felt exactly the same as when we left them. For twenty years Lloyd (Jim Carrey) has been in a mental institution as a result of his breakup with Mary Swanson. His best friend Harry (Jeff Daniels) has been faithful to visit him every week, at least until Lloyd reveals that he has been faking in order to pull the ultimate gag on his buddy. The two are reunited and Lloyd learns that Harry is sick and needs a kidney transplant. Harry finds out that years prior he had fathered a child so with Lloyd’s help he sets out to reveal himself to his daughter and possibly get her to give him a kidney as well.
Of course all of that sounds completely insane, but it starts off in perfect harmony with the stupidity of the two lead characters (and I do mean that in a very positive way). The film quickly lobs one funny gag after another, some are incredibly over-the-top, others subtle and equally funny. I was laughing a lot. Everything was clicking for me early on and I was reminded of why I loved the original movie.
But then this film runs into a wall. The humor, which energized the first part of the movie, flatlines and my laughter all but stopped. It seemed as if the Farrelly’s ran out of good gags and were straining to fill out their running time. It loses its cleverness, its charm, and its overall likability. Carrey and Daniels still go for it, but the material devolves into a desperate and dull mess. It becomes cruder and ruder and the laughs become more and more scarce. Then there is the end which is more or less nonsense.
I had high hopes for this film, but they were laced with an understandable hesitation. Sometimes movies like the first film should just be left alone. Today’s comedies seem locked into a single, repeated formula that I normally don’t find funny or entertaining. I loved the thought of a film bringing back that idiotic humor that we haven’t seen in a while. For a bit “Dumb and Dumber To” gives us that. But sadly it never maintains it and the unfunny toilet humor and gross out gags take over. It ends up being yet another Hollywood sequel that didn’t really need to happen.