Directors: The Farrelly Brothers
Cast: Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels
Running Time: 109 minutes
Release Date: December 19th
Twenty years has past since the release of the first Dumb and Dumber and in that time has anyone been really anticipating a sequel? Don’t get me wrong I’m pretty sure that they are some very dedicated fans of the original but is there anyone who cares so much about a follow up that they would spend New Years Eve crying tears on their pillow, lamenting another year passed without Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels mugging through jokes about bodily fluids. If you just so happen to be one of those freaks, well good news! Harry and Lloyd are back and they are just as crass, juvenile and dumb as they were twenty years ago. The bad news is that they are nowhere near as funny.
Proving that time is no barrier to the 22 Jump Street thesis that comedy sequels must deliver the same thing again, Dumb and Dumber To sees Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey) pretty much re-enact the plot of twenty years ago. This time the road trip is to locate Harry’s long lost daughter, all while delivering a McGuffin and being unwittingly involved in a crime plot. It stills boggles the mind how it took six writers to come up with this script.
Of course the plot isn’t the most important aspect of a film like Dumb and Dumber To, no one would look at a scene of Harry attempting to pull out Lloyd’s urinary catheter and think that it was based on the stage plays of Bertolt Brecht. Yes, the film is immature. Yes, it is very dumb and incredibly stupid. That is to be expected from this film and that isn’t the problem with it and would be pointless to complain about. The problem is while the first film was stupid and immature, it was funny and this just isn’t.
They are a few reasons for that. The first is that they are many parts of the film where the jokes come across as just being mean spirited for the sake of it. This is exemplified by the treatment of Kathleen Turner’s character, where the film seems to relish in making cracks about her appearance. These kinds of jokes undermine what it is that the Farrelly brothers do best when they are on form and that is that between all the gross out humour and slapstick, there is an undercurrent of sweetness to these characters.
Time certainly doesn’t help the film as well. Recreating a film after twenty years was always going to be problematic, so despite the films references to Breaking Bad and TED conferences, Dumb and Dumber To feels like a relic of the past. It often inadvertently reminds you on how much times has changed, never so much as in a scene where Harry and Lloyd shout “Show us your tits” at a young woman on stage at a TED like conference and it becomes clear that these characters are no long child like buffoons that we all knew and loved but have now just become dirty old men.
While Daniels has always been a versatile actor and appears to be enjoying the opportunity to take a break from delivering ultra-serious Sorkin monologues, for Jim Carrey, who since Dumb and Dumber has gone on to grow and develop more as an actor, these types of films which hark back to the rubber face material that made him famous in the first place always feel like a step backward.
In watching Dumb and Dumber To I was reminded of an interview with Supergrass years ago where they mentioned that as they have gotten older the only true way for them to perform their ode to youthful exuberance “Alright” was to change the song to a minor key and sing the lyrics in the past tense. Dumb and Dumber To could have used a least some of this reflection. Instead it ends up looking like a sad attempt to try and reclaim the glories of the past and failing miserably.