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Somewhere in the world there may exist a film that is even more puerile than Dumb and Dumber To, with performers who might even be Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels squared in terms of being able to keep a straight face whilst being slobbered over by a dog that appears to be rabid but it is highly doubtful. Admittedly this film will have a number of “built in” fans, folks who adore Carrey from his Ace Ventura days and the first film he made with Daniels Dumb & Dumber. However, the antics of Lloyd and Harry are an acquired taste and only those who can appreciate the most basic of juvenile directed humor should bother to see this exercise in an overlong joke with a saggy punchline.
There are those who are not devout fans of the first film, that may find a few moments of hilarity and to be perfectly fair the first half of the film showed some promise. Without giving anything away, there are scenes in a hearse that are very funny, in a Leslie Nielsen sort of way, that actually surprised laughter out of this reviewer several times. Dumb and Dumber To has some very admirable names in it that could make up for the film’s flogging of a dead comedic horse.
Laurie Holden for example, the actress who specializes in powerful female characters, plays a mother with murderous intentions. The fact that Holden made this film, and did a fine job in the process, is a testament to the fact that those acting chops are just fine. Her stint as Andrea in The Walking Dead, as well as the other roles she has played on the big screen, like “sexy Sybil” the cop in Silent Hill for example, shows that she can play strong characters in her sleep. Quite wisely, the actress chose to play her role straight and it works well.
The film begins with the stars of Dumb & Dumber reprising their roles as Harry and Lloyd. Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey, to be honest, could have “phoned this one in.” The humor is puerile and it is, essentially, the first film’s gags squared, if you will. Harry, comes to visit Lloyd who has been in a home for 20 years. After telling his uncommunicative friend that he has a personal problem that will keep him from visiting in the future, Lloyd reveals that he is fine, it was all part of a long gag. Harry, asks him if Lloyd could not have told him the truth after 10 years, which would still have been funny, to which his friend replies, “Sure, but it would not have been as funny. Indicating that overkill is what makes the joke work.
Therein lies the trouble with Dumb and Dumber To. The film utilizes overkill for every single overlong joke and scene in the film. Again, for fans of the first movie, this will not be a problem. After the two men reunite, Harry finds out that he is a father, although this happened so long ago that his daughter is now grown and going to college. The two men go to see the girl’s mother, Fraida, played by Kathleen Turner. They find out that the woman put her child up for adoption years ago, but she does have an address for “Penny.”
The rest of the movie is Lloyd and Harry going to find Penny, for a kidney that her father needs – don’t ask – and the girl’s adoptive mother trying to terminate the people who stand in her way of getting a fortune. At just under two hours the film feels longer. There are some “noted” cameos. Bill Murray, blink and you will miss him, do not blink and you will also. Jennifer Lawrence has a cameo that she was very excited about filming last year. She need not have wasted the effort of being so pleased. Her part has been edited in such a way that the audience cannot see her face or even hear her, although that last bit may be wrong as this viewer had completely lost interest at that point in the proceedings.
Jim Carrey fans will love the film, fans of the first movie will also find this hilarious “squared” and see much to chortle, chuckle, belly-laugh and roll in the aisle about. Is the film worth seeing for those who are not fans of either Dumb and Dumber or Carrey? Possibly, but only if they do not mind losing interest in the entire puerile film halfway through when the movie decides to go all out on overkill and make almost every character in the film as mentally challenged as Harry and Lloyd. Dumb and Dumber To opens November 14, 2014. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels fans prepare to be enthralled by your hero, everyone else should give it a miss.
By Michael Smith
AMC Town Square Theater 18