The “comedy duo” is one of the oldest tricks in the movie book. Your movie doesn’t have to have a brilliant plot or any sort of compelling social relevance if it’s simply a vehicle for a pair of funny people. What worked for Abbott & Costello and Laurel & Hardy still worked for Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back in 1994 — and yes, it’s been 20 years since Dumb and Dumber hit the screens. (Man, do I feel old.)
Little more than a new version of The Three Stooges, only minus one stooge, Dumb and Dumber was a huge hit, mainly because Carrey and Daniels are really funny people, be it together or separately. So is the magic still there after two decades?
For the most part, yes, there are several big laughs to be found here, thanks almost entirely to the two leads, but — as is often the case with late-arriving or oddly overlong sequels — Dumb and Dumber To offers not so much a “story” as it does a collection of sketches, most of which are riffs on gags you probably remember from the first film. Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Daniels) scream loud noise; Harry and Lloyd accidentally thwart a looming assassin; Harry and Lloyd behave inappropriately in refined company; and on and on.
And then six (!) screenwriters try to tie it all together with this: Harry needs a kidney from his estranged daughter, which is more than enough of a premise to send the dumb duo on a long, aimless, and frequently pretty funny road trip. So as a “movie” movie, there’s really not much here. But as a basic showcase for Daniels, who slips right back into silly mode with no trouble whatsoever, and for Carrey, who is the funniest he’s been in a half-dozen films, Dumb and Dumber To does manage to deliver the goods.
It’s just that the pair’s best moments often get lost amidst unfunny side characters, a ramshackle plot construction that does little to keep a viewer interested, and a handful of skits that simply feel like the last 15 minutes of any random episode of “Saturday Night Live.” Clocking in at a cumbersome 110 minutes, D&D2 does dole out some solid giggles, but it also wears out its welcome well before the end credits hit the screen.
Veteran comedy directors Peter & Bobby Farrelly earn points for a handful of amusingly bizarre dream sequences, as well as for being masters of cutting around (and using) the best of Jim Carrey’s lunacy, but there’s simply no reason that a farce this dizzy, broad, and innately redundant needs to run for almost 110 minutes.
Yes, the original Dumb and Dumber ran 107 minutes, but it felt a lot quicker, and the jokes were new that time. But fair is fair: Carrey and Daniels still retain much of their idiotic charms, and they do manage to keep a clunky sequel from ever sinking into outright awfulness. A few more trips to the editorial department would have helped the movie as a whole, but what’s done is done, and these two morons still make me laugh.
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