Tweetable Takeaway: The unfunny script holds Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels from making a worthy successor to Dumb & Dumber.
By: Wil Loper, Contributor
The manic energy is there. The dumb is too. The funny? Not so much. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their roles with surprising gusto, but it’s the script that holds the two back from making a worthy successor to Dumb & Dumber.
The bridge to the sequel is at least hilarious in concept, and fits right in with the characters. Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas has pretended to be in a coma for 20 years, and after Jeff Daniels’ Harry Dunne tells Lloyd this is his last visit, Lloyd gives up that it was all an elaborate prank. It’s only downhill from here. The pair return to the same apartment building from the first movie, first stopping to see their old blind, wheelchair-bound Billy also from the first movie. See a pattern yet? You soon will. The rest of the movie contains recreations and references to the first movie instead of working hard to create new lovable gags and quotable dumb lines. Nostalgia and references are great to see in sequels (especially in ones that come 20 years later), but Dumber To uses references to a near egregious level almost on par with The Hangover II.
Once back in their old digs, Harry reveals to Lloyd his kidney is failing and he needs a new one. After visiting Harry’s parents, the movie plays the oldest, most tired “You’re adopted” joke in the book, and Harry has to look elsewhere for a donor. Lucky for Harry, his old mail reveals he’s unknowingly had a daughter for 20 years, and the stage is set for the road trip of a lifetime! Wait, another road trip? Well, it worked for the first movie, so…
They track down the adoptive parents, one a brilliant scientist Dr. Pinchelow (Steve Tom) the other his femme fatale wife, Adele (Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead). Adele is slowly killing her husband so that she and lover, Travis (Rob Riggle), can inherit the sizable fortune. Once Harry and Lloyd show up, their plan goes awry, and Rob Riggle’s character joins the two on the road trip in an effort to kill the two. Still getting that déjà vu feeling… The supposed daughter, Penny, is portrayed by Rachel Melvin in the most painful performance of the year. Perhaps even the decade.
The new gags that do exist often are mean-spirited or just don’t work. One running gag throughout the movie has Lloyd using “Bond…James Bond” as a quote and it left me scratching my head as to why it was included in the first place. It’s out of place and just plain unfunny. And the mean-spirited gags in the first at least had the duo either doling out comeuppances or getting their own in return. When Lloyd insults the elderly woman in the first movie, she takes all his stuff. This time around, when they mock a scientist attempting to speak at a convention, it’s the speaker who gets his comeuppance. There’s even a couple jabs thrown at another wheelchair-bound scientist for good measure.
There’s an earnest desire to give the audience a good laugh, and the audience certainly will want to like this movie as well, given the staying power of the first Dumb after all these years. This movie demonstrates that there’s a funny way to do dumb, and just a dumb way to do dumb. There are flashes of hilarity, I counted at least two full laugh out louds, but nowhere near where it might have been. As is usually the cinematic case, the antics of Lloyd and Harry were better left confined to one movie. I give it 1 Jim Carrey bowl haircut out of 5
Score: 1 out of 5