DUMB AND DUMBER TO
Directors: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom, Don Lake, Patricia French, Kathleen Turner
MPAA Rating: (for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references)
Running Time: 1:50
Release Date: 11/14/14
Review by Mark Dujsik | November 13, 2014
Is it possible for a movie titled Dumb and Dumber To to be too dumb? Yes, yes, oh my, yes, it is. Here is a movie that seems oblivious to the idea that dumb characters are rarely funny when their dumbness knows no bounds. It's easy to make a joke about someone not understanding the simplest of concepts, but when that's the only joke to be had, the conceit is quickly exhausted.
In this unwarranted sequel, the main characters go from one unlikely scenario to the next, encountering characters who seem smarter than them but—let's face it—have to be pretty dumb to think for more than a few seconds that any normal human interaction is possible with these two nincompoops. The movie's climax is set at a conference for the best and most influential minds of our age, and the people who run the thing believe our idiotic heroes are a brilliant inventor and his slightly less brilliant assistant.
There's a joke to be had about false perceptions and how people believe what they want to believe here, but it's lost in scenes of one of the characters making the stupidest suggestions for a string of ideas that could change the world. That nanorobot could cure cancer, the doltish hero notes, but it could sing, too. Wouldn't that make it better?
Ignoring that his suggestion comes from a novelty animatronic fish that most people haven't given a thought to in over a decade (There's reason to suspect that this screenplay has been sitting on a closet shelf next to one of those singing fish and was left untouched as the cameras started and finished rolling), is that really all there is to the gag? Another aspiring inventor proposes a way to end world hunger, and Harry (Jeff Daniels) asks what would be done with the excess fecal matter. These represent the movie's general idea of what constitutes a joke: lots of setups and a few punch lines here and there.
Perhaps the inventor who designed the cancer-fighting nanorobot could have made an impromptu revision to the animated model that allows for the robot to sing, and the audience would respond with mouths agape, as if they had been witness to the opening night rendition of "Springtime for Hitler." Maybe that's not really that funny of an idea, but at least it would be a punch line. It's more than the screenplay (credited to six screenwriters, including directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly) offers.
The plot finds Harry and his best friend Lloyd (Jim Carrey), who has faked having a psychiatric break from reality for two decades as a "goof," attempting to find Harry's daughter in order for Harry to convince her to give him one of her kidneys for a transplant. They find Penny's (Rachel Melvin) adoptive parents Dr. Pinchelow (Steve Tom) and Adele (Laurie Holden), who inform the two that Penny has gone to a conference to present Pinchelow's newest invention.
She left the box containing the invention behind, because she apparently inherited her biological father's intelligence. Harry and Lloyd offer to take the invention to her, along with the help of Travis (Rob Riggle), the Pinchelows handyman who is having an affair and plotting to kill the doctor with Adele.
It's another road trip for the duo, who are played by Carrey and Daniels with the over-the-top physicality of a stage actor trying to make certain the balcony seats can see the movements. The characters were never particularly endearing, but at least they never became too annoying in the first movie (If there's any reference to the second movie, a prequel featuring younger versions of the pair, they're lost on this writer, who skipped it). Here, Harry and Lloyd aren't just dumb but aggressively, obnoxiously, and sometimes cruelly so.
There are lots of jokes involving flatulence and bodily fluids and functions from the start, which features Harry changing Lloyd's unnecessary catheter bag by putting the full one between his teeth. Lloyd fantasizes about protecting Penny from attacking ninjas and uses a whip to violent rip off one attacker's scrotum, holding it up for all to see (The MPAA ratings board, in its infinite wisdom, has deemed this visual perfectly appropriate for the PG-13 rating). There's a scene where the two rub a hand between their backside cheeks and coerce someone to smell it. To be fair, that gag does at least have a punch line in the form of Harry and Lloyd eating food with the same hand. Take that as you will.
Admittedly, some of the duo's antics are amusing, especially early in the movie while we're still becoming reacquainted with their ways. After that, though, Dumb and Dumber To begins an unstoppable slide from irritating to grating.
Copyright © 2014 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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