I have a sort-of sentimental connection to the first Dumb and Dumber. I saw it with my dad late one night at a movie theater outside Louisville. We had driven up there from the small Kentucky town we lived in to pick my mom up from the airport. We drove up the day before her flight arrived and just hung around the city. We played putt-putt, went to an arcade, and also saw the Street Fighter movie that same day. Dumb and Dumber came out in early December ’94, and Street Fighter later in that same month. We saw them in January, and I think it might have even been the last weekend that Dumb and Dumber was going to be playing at this theater. It was like 9:00 at night and we sat down in this huge, almost empty theater to watch it. In retrospect, I’m sure my dad would have not taken his 9 year old son to see it had he known what kind of content awaited us (he made me close my eyes during the “headlights” scene but now I’m 30 and I’ve seen it a bunch of times so ha!)
I loved it. I loved all of it. I had to be their target audience anyway, right? There were poop and pee jokes, dead animal jokes, a fat guy dying in a funny way, and the most annoying sound in the world. Surely they made this movie for 9 year old boys… I guess the answer is, “sort-of”? They made it for grown men (and some women, who, you know, are into that kind of humor) that used to be 9 years olds. For me, Dumb and Dumber is one of the absolute funniest movies of all-time. The way the jokes had jokes and there were these intricate deliveries of them just fascinated me. It was like the Farrelly Brothers had invented a new type of comedy. And in many ways, they did. “There’s Something About Mary”, “Me, Myself & Irene”, “Shallow Hal”. All of these films they created made us laugh at things that we never thought big-budget comedy films would dare to show. They made comedy movies dangerous again after many years of having been reduced to bland scenarios and forced romantic overtones.
Enter: Dumb and Dumber To. It’s not Dumb and Dumber, in the sense that it’s not breaking new ground and ushering in a whole new era of comedy film-making. But… it’s still REALLY DAMN FUNNY.
The new film follows Harry and Lloyd as they go in search of Harry’s daughter that he never knew about so that they can try to convince her to give him a kidney that he desperately needs. Along the way, their hijinks and shenanigans get them into all kinds of trouble and their friendship is put to the test. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s pretty much the same premise as the first one, but they throw in enough to make it still really fun to watch. I’ve seen critics complain that they “recycle” jokes from the first film. I don’t find this to be entirely true. They do recreate scenarios and add new spins on them, but they don’t use the exact same jokes. Even so, isn’t “recycling” a good thing? Taking something old and breaking it down then rebuilding it to be something new… but maybe I’m mistaken on what recycling really is.
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels do a great job of revitalizing their characters. You genuinely feel like this is what Harry and Lloyd would be like at this point in their lives. There are some differences in that, the first movie didn’t really have a lot of “absurd” moments in the real world. What I mean is, most of the ridiculous, far-fetched stuff happens in Llyods dreams in Dumb and Dumber. There are a few things that you’re like, “That would never happen”, but they don’t make up most of the movie. Dumb and Dumber To is different in that it’s packed full of those moments and sometimes they’re plot-important scenes. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, it’s all still funny. I just want to address that I recognized that difference.
Joining the fellas on most of their misadventure is Rob Riggle, who pulls double duty starring as twin brothers Travis and “Captain” Lippincott. They have very different personalities (Travis is disorganized and tightly wound and “Captain” is a focused military man) that he pulls off perfectly.
Kathleen Turner may have found her new calling in Hollywood, as the blue-collar every-woman Fraida Felcher. She’s not quite the “sex symbol” she was back in the days of “Body Heat” and “Romancing the Stone”, so it makes sense for her to move into something that works for her and I think this is it.
Also, new to the crew this time around, is Rachel Melvin, who plays the not-so-bright daughter that Harry is on the hunt for. She does a great job as well playing a sweet girl who’s just “a few fries short of a Happy Meal”. She almost reminded me of a younger, less sexed-up, Kandi (April Bowlby) from “Two and a Half Men”.
20 years ago my dad took me to see Dumb and Dumber, and now I got to take him. That makes me biased to this film. The sentiment I have for the first one probably predisposed me to liking this one. But like I already said, it’s still damn funny. Did I think it was funnier than the first one? Not sure. That first one is so hard to beat in my eyes. But it totally delivers on consistent laughs which is what you want from a COMEDY film. If you’re heading out to the theater this weekend and you just want to laugh, you’re not gonna do any better than Dumber and Dumber To.