22nd Dec2014

‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Review

by Ian Loring

Stars: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom, Don Lake, Patricia French, Kathleen Turner, Tembi Locke, Paul Blackthorne | Written by Sean Anders, Mike Cerrone, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, John Morris, Bennett Yellin | Directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

D-and-D-To-cast

The comedy landscape may have monumentally shifted in the time since the original Dumb & Dumber but great comedy never ages. 1994’s Dumb & Dumber is a genuinely funny film, on a re-watch last month I still laughed loudly at a great many lines and visual gags (personal favourite? “I’m talking about a place called Aspen” “I don’t know Lloyd, the French are assholes”), and the central performances from Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels manage to hit the line between charming and annoying exactly right. All this brings us to Dumb and Dumber To which finds the principal filmmakers in very different positions, Jim Carrey in need of a hit, Jeff Daniels doing award-winning work on the small screen and the Farrelly Brothers trying to capture that zeitgeist magic they attained twice with the original and There’s Something About Mary. Two decades on and with mainstream comedy being more coarse and extreme than ever, where do Harry and Lloyd fit in?

The simple answer is that they don’t at all. There is a fair chance that if you sit in front of Sophie’s Choice, you may get more laughs than there are in the near 2-hours of Dumb and Dumber To. In both concept and execution the film completely fails with Carrey and Daniels now looking far too old to make any of their on-screen activities seem appealing even in the most childish ways. The film sees Carrey’s Lloyd become again obsessed with a woman but this one is a solid 25 years younger than him and unlike his interactions with Mary in the first film which come across as actually quite sweet, he now plays the creepy older man, something the film does acknowledge but only makes the decision to pursue this seem more misjudged. While Carrey throws in his all, he does have an interesting way of eating a hot dog which managed to get a semi-chuckle out, Daniels plays Harry in a way where it feels like he was directed as if in a sitcom reacting to a non-existent audience which wouldn’t provide any laughs if there anyway.

The Farrellys’ have also looked to the past in their comedy here but in the worst way. Jokes about how women can’t be doctors and a flat-out offensive scene involving Lloyd laughing at someone talking in Chinese feel like they would have been questionable when the first film was released but it also means that these characters just don’t feel like the same people in the first one. The ignorant innocence of the first film has been replaced with sexist, racist idiots who if you credited the filmmakers with any intelligence almost feel like they’ve been written as some kind of meta-parody to try and expose the imbeciles in the audience who would actually laugh at this stuff. Combine this with gross-out humour which pains itself in trying to make you laugh but also assumes you are a 10-year old pre-pubescent boy who has somehow snuck into this 15-rated film and you have the place where comedy goes to die.

Dumb and Dumber To is one of the worst mainstream comedies of recent years and deserves to be forgotten about as quickly as possible and barring any late entrants is the clear worst film of 2014.

½  0.5/10

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