Full disclosure: I firmly believe that the original Dumb & Dumber is not only one of the best comedies of the 1990s, but by far the best work of Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Sure, Kingpin has its moments and both Me, Myself & Irene and There’s Something About Mary are also up there, but the recent work of the Farrellys (like Fever Pitch, Hall Pass, and The Three Stooges) were average comedies at best. Likewise, Jim Carrey hasn’t had a great straight comedy film since… well, Me, Myself & Irene. And I really mean it when I say I love Dumb & Dumber. Lines from that movie are part of my everyday conversation (“So you’re telling me there’s a chance…”), and I still regularly listen to the soundtrack (Deadeye Dick’s “Mary Moon” is one of the most overlooked songs of the 1990s. Don’t believe me? Listen to it here!) So when I found out that Carrey, Jeff Daniels, and the Farrellys were reuniting for a sequel after twenty years of rumors and false starts, I was extremely hopeful for a second dose of comedic perfection.
As you’d expect, the plot to Dumb and Dumber To really isn’t important so there’s little I’ll say about it here. What you can expect is Harry and Lloyd going on another road trip in part to fulfill Lloyd’s lustful reasons (though this time Harry also has to make the trip for his own reasons, too). Along the way they inadvertently get involved in another money-swindling plot involving Adele (Laurie Holden) and twin brothers both played by Rob Riggle. Yes, it’s essentially a rehash of the original’s plot, but, honestly, would you want Dumber and Dumber To to be anything else? Nonetheless, after a Dumb & Dumber cartoon series that had little to do with the original film and a god-awful 2003 prequel (which had no involvement of Carrey, Daniels or the Farrellys), is this twenty-years-in-the-making sequel the movie we’ve been waiting for?
Well, let’s put it this way: After watching this sequel I feel like I deserve an I.O.U. for a better movie.
Dumb and Dumber To isn’t a bad movie, but it’s ultimately a disappointing one. Yes, it’s a kick to see Harry and Lloyd back with a few (okay, a lot) more wrinkles, and there are a lot of riffs on the original that are so welcome that they’re borderline fan service. But the jokes don’t hit as hard because it’s almost like the Farrellys wanted to out-stupid the original, which was already supremely stupid. The Farrellys and Bennet Yellin (who wrote the original) plus co-writers Mike Cerrone (who co-wrote Me, Myself & Irene), and Sean Anders and John Morris (who co-wrote Hot Tub Time Machine, We’re The Millers, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Horrible Bosses 2) decided to go to 11 on this script and bring the absurdity to new heights of idiocy. Sometimes it works, but other times it’s just an imitation of a joke that was much funnier in the original. Other times it just seems like a completely random attempt to get a cheap laugh.
While the original had plenty of cheap laughs, the humor was a bit more organic from Carrey and Daniels’ performances rather than from a bit. As a result, my biggest issue with the film is it’s far more reliant on wacky bits than its predecessor, and characters as hilarious and Harry and Lloyd don’t really need the bits to be funny. In fact, like the original most of the best jokes come right from the characters’ ridiculous dialogue, and it’s too bad there isn’t more of a focus on that.
The best comparison I could make for Dumb and Dumber To is that it’s a lot like Anchorman 2: a sequel to a classic that is still very funny and worth watching, but by no means a classic itself. People who love the original Dumb & Dumber will certainly like this sequel, but few will see it as the original’s comedic equal. That’s the nature of comedy sequels — frankly, how many comedy sequels are funnier than the original? — but with characters as funny as Harry and Lloyd (and actors as great as Carrey and Daniels) it probably should’ve been easier to get some stronger material out of them
By the way, two of the best jokes come after the movie ends: First, you’ll see the name of the famous actor who plays Ice Pick and second there’s a post-credits scene that all fans of the original will love.
RATING: While still full of hilarious moments, Dumb and Dumber To just isn’t a worthy follow-up to the original (5/10).