As someone who has spent a majority of his after-school life watching Dumb and Dumber on tv, who got a bowl haircut because Lloyd Christmas had it, and has always laughed at the very sight of a Samsonite suitcase, I had reasonably high hopes for Dumb and Dumber To. It’s the least a film could do – cater to an already established fanbase and please the die-hardest of fans of the original film. Prepare for a torrent of heartache. Remember ‘the most annoying sound in the world’ that Lloyd makes in the original film? Unfortunately, Dumb and Dumber To is two hours of that sound. It’s also the sound of fond childhood memories being scorched with the intensity of a thousand suns.
The plot is exactly the same – Lloyd and Harry go on a road trip to find a girl. However this time, it’s because Harry needs to find his daughter so that he can have a kidney replacement surgery. Lloyd, of course, has other plans. Namely, to get jiggy with Harry’s daughter because she looks hot in a photograph. They also have to deal with her evil stepmother (Laurie Holden) and her minion (Rob Riggle). What made the original Dumb and Dumber so adorable was that Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) were good-natured goofballs inadvertently doing outrageous things in a normal world. In Dumb and Dumber To, Lloyd and Harry aren’t good-natured, they’re evil. The things that they do aren’t outrageous – they’re unfunny and asinine. The world that they inhabit isn’t normal, but outrageous. The women in the original film were made fun of, but not presented as punching bags. In this movie, they exist only to be objectified and be the target of persistent, unrelenting misogyny. The leading lady in the film is called Fanny Felcher, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The humour in the misbegotten Dumb and Dumber To is mean spirited and plain old nasty. The comedy plays out only to shock you and it becomes more and more lowbrow as the film progresses. There is a reason why the Farrelly Brothers have been delivering stinkers since Me Myself and Irene. They substituted the good comedy of their earlier work with gross-out gags. It’s clear that they’ve lost their spark and believe in the laziest way to make the audience giggle – by throwing in jokes that are as offensive as possible.
The laziness doesn’t end there. Most of the jokes are rehashed versions of the best gags in the original film. It’s like the Farrelly’s carried around a checklist of what made Dumb and Dumber a pop culture phenomenon and winged the filmmaking. The daydream featuring an improbable fight sequence and a makeout session? Present. Lloyd eating food like a rat? It’s here. The dog car? Check. Lloyd puking when scolded by Harry? Here. What is really tragic is to see Jim Carrey, one of the greatest cinematic comedians of all time, reduced to starring in a film like this and then doing the things he does in it. This is the same guy who did Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Now he’s on camera inappropriately fondling the nether regions of an old woman to earn money. The same can also be said for Jeff Daniels, who seems to be doing an SNL impression of Harry Dunne, rather than reclaiming the innocent charm of the dude he created twenty years ago. Even the toilet scene in the original rendered him more dignity than any single moment in this movie.
In short, Dumb and Dumber To deserves to be buried under two feet of mud, alongside the dead fragments of my childhood. You can either watch this film or could plug in the famous Crash Test Dummies song, put on your headphones and drift away into the nostalgic delights of the '90s, when the world was perfect and movies took you on a snowy ride to Aspen.
(First published in Firstpost)