They say you should never meet your heroes and the same can be said for never making sequels to beloved movies. The expectation on the shoulders of The Farrelly Brothers to deliver a movie that matched the brilliant Dumb and Dumber almost made their task impossible but to have missed the mark quite as badly as they did is beyond belief.
It is difficult to explain why Dumb and Dumber To doesn’t work. The characters return, with both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels slipping back into character almost effortlessly. It can’t help but bring a smile to your face when the characters return to their familiar clothes and pick-up their friendship from the first film. That charm soon dissipates as the story begins.
Story may be over-selling slightly. Dumb and Dumber is about the set-pieces and outrageous situations you can place the two stupid characters in so a story doesn’t have to be to complicated and this one isn’t. In fact, you can trace the similarities between the two films right down to the love/family fuelled quest to return a lost/missing item. This wouldn’t matter too much as long as the adventure that the two get themselves into along the journey is an entertaining one and unfortunately, this one isn’t.
Dumb and Dumber To isn’t funny. It isn’t completely without laughs and there are some moments which produce a genuine, laugh-out-loud moment but compared to the success rate of the first film, this one falls way below. Some of the jokes are recycled from the first film but not with enough of an update to make the repetition clever. Some of the new jokes and situations just border on the obscene and too-gross, particularly one scene involving an elderly lady in a retirement home.
The setting doesn’t particularly play to the character’s strengths either. The last act is mainly set at a convention for the scientifically brilliant and the humour is placing Harry and Lloyd among these people. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really play out the way it seems to be intended and just becomes more dull than entertaining, not offering the opportunities for the great humour you’d hope.
The laughs aren’t the only thing missing from Dumb and Dumber To. There was a charm and heart to the characters and their relationship that seems to have been lost. The quest was worthwhile because the two friends supported each other, making the story of their argument and coming to each other’s rescue a good one. In this film that dynamic seems to have disappeared. Harry is still dumb and lovable while Carrey’s Lloyd seems to have become a huge jerk, acting far more obnoxiously than he ever did in the first film.
It means that when the film does finally try to repeat the more heartfelt moments from the first, it fails because we have lost love for the characters. These two don’t seem to be the same characters that got themselves into familiar scrapes twenty years ago and it places a damper on the film’s success.
Overall, Dumb and Dumber To could have been a great return to beloved characters but while Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels do a good job of throwing themselves back into their classic roles, the film isn’t up to scratch. The humour is too crass, the story too thin and the situations are without any real opportunities for the characters to demonstrate what made them so popular in the first place. An example of leaving classic movies well alone.
Rating – 2
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)