‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Too Dumb to Be Funny

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Dumb And Dumber To” is an exercise in diminishing returns. Jim Carrey and The Farrelly Brothers expend twice the effort for less than a third of the laughs. It benefits greatly from the enormous well of goodwill created by the original’s inspired idiocy. But one can only suspend disbelief for so long and this sequel has problems that the warm glow of nostalgia can’t solve.

Picking up 20 years after the original, Carrey and Daniels head back out on the road to find the daughter Daniels never knew he had. The script – which is credited to six writers – uses the plot as the flimsiest of clotheslines on which to hang its physical gags.

Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in ‘Dumb and Dumber To’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

It’s less a movie than a string of punchlines in search of a decent setup. Some work, but many many do not. The first time Carrey pulls an elaborate fake out routine on Daniels it’s mildly amusing. The sixth time it happens its just plain lazy. Nostalgia proves to be its most reliable source of jokes – a high point is the fate of Billy the blind kid and his pet bird Siskel (a parrot who speaks in nothing but movie quotes).

Carrey and Daniels still have that great old chemistry, and I’ll admit I had a few mild chuckles along the way, but Carrey’s shameless mugging has lost something over the years. He throws himself wholeheartedly back into the role, but what once seemed effortless now smacks of flop-sweat. The same goes for the Farrelly Brothers, who’ve been on an even longer losing streak than Carrey. The first film merely asked you to check your brain at the door, this one practically asks for a lobotomy.

The Farrellys haven’t lost their love of bad taste, getting considerable mileage out of Kathleen Turner’s somewhat masculine appearance as Daniels’ old flame and mother of his child. But where once they elicited guffaws, now they barely manage a slight chuckle. Too often it seems like they come up with the visual punchline first, and then try to write their way up to it with only mild success.

Rachel Melvin, Jim Carrey
Rachel Melvin and Jim Carrey in ‘Dumb and Dumber To’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

For example, Daniels and Carrey are riding a bike and then decide to take the bus. So the next shot shows Carrey and Daniels still riding their bike in the bus’ bike rack on the front. It’s funny in principle, but it doesn’t quite land on the screen. The funniest joke in the world won’t get the laughs it deserves if its not told right.

The Farrelly Brothers have been on a fruitless quest for another “hair gel” moment since “There’s Something About Mary,” but “Dumb and Dumber To” doesn’t have anything in that league. Admittedly it’s a step up from their unfunny and just downright painful “Three Stooges” effort, but then again, so is a root canal.

“Dumb and Dumber To” opens everywhere on November 14th. Featuring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Kathleen Turner, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Don Lake and Bill Murray. Screenplay by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Anders, Mike Cerrone, John Morris and Bernie Yellin. Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2014 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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