Overview: In this follow-up to Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s 1994 film about two stunningly stupid best friends, Harry tells Lloyd that he needs a kidney transplant and the two set out on a road trip to find the woman they’ve been told is Harry’s daughter, in the hopes that she might donate her kidney to him. A ridiculous amount of dumb action ensues. 2014, Universal Pictures, rated PG-13, 110 minutes.
The Reboot: In the years since Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne don’t seem to have learned a thing. They are exactly as they were in the first film. The plot too is almost a carbon copy of Dumb and Dumber. There’s a girl. There are a couple criminals. There’s a lot of money. The jokes are as silly and juvenile as ever. The gags as sophomoric. Fortunately, these reasons to hate the movie may also be the reasons that many like it.
Is it fresh? No, not at all. Striving to make a film that’s almost exactly like Dumb and Dumber seems like a pretty safe idea until you think about the differences in today’s audience compared to audiences then. Does this kind of immature humor cut it anymore? I suppose time will tell. For the most part, these jokes still worked for me, despite the fact that this film followed the exact same patterns as its predecessor. If you’ve seen Dumb and Dumber, you’ve basically seen Dumb and Dumber To. In the same respect, if you loved Dumb and Dumber, there’s a very good chance you’re going to at least smile your way through most of Dumb and Dumber To.
This is a very hard film to hate. Even when the jokes don’t fall right, one must commend stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels for trying so hard. It’s clear that they love these characters and feel at home in the roles. There isn’t a moment that I didn’t believe these two men in their ignorance and naivety. Because of this, Lloyd and Harry’s friendship remains the strongest aspect of the film, just as it was in Dumb and Dumber. You could sit these two characters in a tiny room for two hours of simple conversation and probably still come out with a pretty funny movie. When you get right down to it, everything else just gets in their way.
Overall: I’m not blind to this film’s faults. Does it sometimes feel as if someone penned professional fanfiction based on Dumb and Dumber? Sure. Does every joke work? Not even close. But everyone involved in this film commits completely, there are plenty of clever funny moments, and there are a few great laugh-out-loud ones. If you loved Dumb and Dumber as much as I did, here’s my advice to you when going to see Dumb and Dumber To: Don’t expect the first film. It’s hard to strike gold twice. (Did I just call a movie about two complete dimwits gold? You bet I did. And I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating.) Sit back and enjoy the ride. Whether you laugh the entire time or not, be aware of how much of a treat it is to revisit this world. This strange, strange world where birds explode after eating Pop Rocks, a grown man pretends to be catatonic for 20 years for a prank, and Jeff Daniels, star of The freaking Newsroom, bares his naked butt more times than one can count.
A treat, indeed.