‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Review
It has been a long time coming, but finally the boys are back on another trip across America to deliver a package. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their roles as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne in Dumb and Dumber To, a long awaited sequel to the original 1994 comedy classic, but unfortunately they may have waited a few decades too long. It is a hit of nostalgia to see Carrey and Daniels back in their roles, but the story, the jokes, and the humor are all quite dated, only really meant for fans of the original, but even then the film was only giggle-worthy. There were no outstanding, hilarious moments that will be memorable, and the only ones that make us remotely laugh are callbacks to the original.
20 years after their first adventure, Harry (Daniels) tells his best buddy Lloyd (Carrey) that he needs a kidney transplant to live, and that he needs help to find a suitable donor. They visit Harry’s adopted parents for ideas, but all they have for him is a box of his mail that has piled up over the years. Harry and Lloyd find a postcard from an old flame of his, Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) telling him that she’s pregnant. The guys track Fraida down and she tells Harry that she gave her daughter (Rachel Melvin) up for adoption, but she gives them a letter she wrote to her that was sent back. Armed with an address, the two head out on the road to find his daughter, but things get complicated when her gold-digger stepmother (Laurie Holden) and her boy toy Travis (Rob Riggle) attempt to stop them.
In terms of story, Dumb and Dumber To is very basic and reminiscent of old school comedy, one that needed that something extra to push it more into our modern world of slapstick humor. However, the story in its simplicity is what allowed the characters of Harry and Lloyd to shine in their element. It also made the references and types of jokes that the Farrelly’s used work, because they were just as dated as the story. The main element of the story – as it should have been – is the dynamic between Harry and Lloyd and the characters themselves. Bringing them and their actors back is the only reason to make this film, and they don’t really fit into the tone of modern comedies. Would they have survived a story like 21 Jump Street? Probably not, so for what it needed to be, the story is fine, but it wasn’t a great feat of comedy writing.
As well as the story flashing us back to an older age of comedy, so too does the humor and types of jokes seen in the film. Thankfully, Dumb and Dumber To managed to stick to what worked for its two main characters, realizing that any attempt to bring Harry and Lloyd forward with jokes too modernized for them would have looked and felt cheap. It is an irony of the film that the element that made it not as enjoyable nowadays as it would have been even five years ago is also the one that saved it from updated humor that would have destroyed it. In their choice to keep the tone and feel of the comedy in line with how the original felt, the Farrelly’s made a good, clear choice, and it worked.
The secondary cast was exactly as we would expect them to be in this type of film: a bit over the top in their portrayals of one-dimensional characters, and they did pretty all right jobs. But the focus is all on Harry and Lloyd, and they were truly the stars of the film. Carrey and Daniels fit seamlessly back into their roles, and it’s clear that they can slip in and out of these characters with incredible ease, and they were both very good. However, their appearance as their famous characters did really show their ages, but despite that and the dated humor, Carrey and Daniels were very funny and performed well together.
With many sequels like this one, where the original film is such an archetypal classic, the question of “why bother” must be put forth. Many are attempting to draw in a younger audience hoping to engage them with the classics. If this was the case with Dumb and Dumber To, the Farrelly’s have sorely misjudged their content. When fans of the original begin discussing the sequel using the word “dated”, perhaps it’s time to accept that a sequel was a little too long in coming. None of the original jokes in Dumb and Dumber To were really funny enough to elicit more than a humored snort, even with Carrey and Daniels’ best efforts, and the ones that were good enough for a giggle were nostalgic throwbacks. However, if the intention of the film was to allow fans of the original to say goodbye to Harry and Lloyd after the failed sequel, prequel, and spin offs, the film is adequate, though still not great and very much in line what we were expecting.
Despite our love of the original film, Harry, and Lloyd, Dumb and Dumber To is a dated rehashing of the same old jokes that just didn’t quite hit the mark this time. The film steered away from some of the usual gimmicks of this type of comedy – too many celebrity cameos for cheap laughs, and pushing the envelope beyond what works for the characters – and in doing so they kept the integrity of what made the original film a classic. Unfortunately, the film is far too late, and it shows not only the ages of Carrey and Daniels blatantly, but it also dates itself in being what it should have been ten years ago.(2.5 / 5)
(Photos copyright: Universal Pictures, Red Granite Pictures)