Dumb and Dumber was a really smart movie about a couple of really stupid people. Dumb and Dumber To is not.
Twenty years on, we find Harry (Jeff Daniels) visiting Lloyd (Jim Carry) in a care facility. Lloyd, it seems, has been catatonic for the intervening twenty years and Harry has been visiting him every Wednesday. Of course, as the trailer gives away, it’s been a colossal prank by Lloyd – to which Harry responds in the exact opposite manner to anyone with an IQ greater than that of a houseplant.
What has prompted Lloyd’s big revelation is Harry saying he won’t be able to visit for a while. It turns out that Harry needs a new kidney or he’s going to die.
Lloyd says he would offer in ‘a New York heartbeat,’ except that Harry needs a genetic match (his exact phrase is one of a series of malapropos that never quite work as well as they’re intended). When Lloyd turns to his parents for help, it becomes very obvious that he’s adopted.
Then a postcard from long ago (not delivered because of something Harry said that got him thrown out) points them at Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) – a girl from their past. It seems that Harry has a daughter, so off they go on a road trip to find her. Hijinx (or lojinx in this case) ensue.
The dimwit duo discover that Penny (Rachel Melvin) is off to give a talk at the KEN Conference in place of her brilliant adoptive dad, Dr. Bernard Pinchelow (Steve Tom). Penny’s speech is to set up the revelation of a brilliant invention to benefit all mankind – and Pinchelow intends for it to everyone for free.
This goes against the grain for his wife, Adele (Laurie Holden), and her lover, Travis (Rob Riggle) – setting up a potentially deadly subplot.
There probably isn’t one surprising moment in Dumb and Dumber To. In structure it pretty much follows the original – and it probably outdoes the original in quantity of fart and poop jokes, to no real end. Carrey’s mugging looks more like someone badly in need of passing gas than giving anything remotely resembling of a performance. During his biggest, hammiest moments the audience at the screening I attended was dead silent.
Not so much as a snicker.
In fact, I don’t think I heard more than a half dozen laughs in Dumb and Dumber To’s entire 110-minute running time. I never laughed out loud even once, though Riggle and Melvin did earn a couple of chuckles.
I emerged back into the light with a clear understanding of why Universal hadn’t had any preview screenings here. Even the multitude of references to the first film just lay there, gasping for breath. Essentially, Dumb and Dumber To is a faint shadow of its brilliantly original original. Too bad.
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Photos by Hopper Stone/Courtesy of Universal