Film Review – Dumb and Dumber To
Dumb and Dumber To
Put down that whining Tamagotchi and throw on your best pre-distressed jeans because it’s Nostalgia Weekend at the cineplex! A staggering 20 years have passed since Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne last graced the big screen (unless you count 2003’s ill-advised prequel, in which case, who ARE you?) and the results are in! It’s fine. The movie is just fine.
Once Bitten‘s Jim Carrey and Heartburn heartthrob Jeff Daniels are back as America’s perennial pinheads and, despite being a little long in the tooth, both are more than game to enter The Farrelly Brothers‘ playground again. The directorial duo have been hurting for a hit for a long while now and this seems like as sure a bet as any. I’ll admit the trailers and TV spots worried me with their relentless and shameless callbacks to the original and, wouldn’t you know it, these are the scenes that fell flattest for me. Did we really need to wait two decades to learn the SECOND most annoying sound in the world? (Spoiler: it’s underwhelming.) There are other, less overt similarities as well. The cross-country road trip, the one dimensional set of villains, the immediate assumption that these dunderheads are eccentric geniuses, etc. More importantly, though, the spirit of the original carries over, allowing me to forgive the often atrocious pacing and occasional (and uncharacteristic) mean-spiritedness.
The film (?) opens with Harry visiting the nursing home of an unresponsive, wheelchair-bound Lloyd, who suffered an apparent mental breakdown after the events of the previous installment. The bar is immediately set when Harry lovingly changes out Lloyd’s colostomy bag…with his teeth. In a gotcha moment that will surprise absolutely no one, Lloyd’s 20 years of incapacity were nothing more than a goof. Reunited at last, the boys recover an old postcard implying that Harry fathered a child with Fraida Felcher, a “titanic whore” played with apparent chagrin by Kathleen Turner. Worse, the movie has no qualms about ruthlessly attacking her appearance, making for a highly uncomfortable experience. Turner presumably signed off on the script, but it doesn’t make the cruelty any easier to stomach.
The two set off to find Penny (Rachel Melvin), Harry out of guilt and Lloyd out of lust. They’re lead to the home of her adoptive parents and are soon tasked with tracking her down at a TED Talks-like conference in which she’s set to give a speech. And because the stakes aren’t high enough, they’re entrusted with a mysterious package as well, said to be worth a billion dollars. Who knew MacGuffins were so spendy these days? There’s also a scheme involving Penny’s stepmother (The Walking Dead‘s Laurie Holden) and her lover (a tragically subdued Rob Riggle) to obtain the package that is both confusing and unnecessary.
I have to be honest. When I learned of this screening, I took it more as a dare to myself than out of any sort of genuine excitement. After all, it’s a hell of a lot easier to pen a review for a movie you hate than one you love. (Strange, but true.) Then a funny thing happened. I laughed. And laughed again. Sure, there were torturous lags between set pieces and more than a couple clunkers to contend with, but the charm of their aloofness remains. I’m as surprised as you and crow doesn’t taste half bad.