If anyone on the street was to stop and ask my favorite movie on a personal level, the answer would be Dumb and Dumber without hesitation. This may sound odd coming from someone who studies film and attempts to create something similar, but the original film came to me when I was growing up and finding out what I wanted to be. 20 years later, I found myself revisiting Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas on another cross-country journey.
Dumb and Dumber To manages to keep you entertained throughout the film through mildly predictable gags and a few truly laugh out loud moments. Despite the apparent aging of the two stars, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels seem to fall right back into the goofballs we fondly remember them as. I applaud the Farrelly brothers for having a story that gives us good reasons for returning to Harry and Lloyd at this part of their life, but tragically refer back to the original outing on one too many occasions. If you enjoy Dumb and Dumber more than the average movie goer, you’ll probably have a good time at the sequel, but if you’re not into ‘dumb’ comedy, then I think you’re better off waiting another 20 years for this one.
Dumb and Dumber To has some unique story elements that I think only work when using Harry and Lloyd. The fact Harry doesn’t know he’s adopted had some great gags, and as far as the writing goes, some bits of the film are brought back later in hilarious ways. The sheer ignorance of the characters also works to great effect, such as trying to find an address on an envelope. I’d even give the Farrelly brothers credit for not spending the first half of a movie as a road trip film, which could have easily been done but was avoided with great success. This, coupled with the new characters added to the film, bring about some smart moments in a movie that claims to be dumb (and dumber). Lastly, the music cues for some parts of the film are spot on. When you hear them, you’ll instantly remember the original film as well as prepare yourself for a similar scene, which also…doesn’t feel completely right.
This is far from a perfect sequel, but I can’t say it is trying to cash in on the original’s cult following either. Where Dumb To falls short is actual cohesiveness and motivation. The journey for Harry to find his long lost daughter is a bit disjointed as it moves through the film, only getting to the actual ‘chase’ about halfway through. It could have had a quicker beginning had it avoided unnecessary throwbacks to the original. This is where I’d like to say the movie can stand on its own, but it couldn’t. Without Dumb and Dumber, most of the jokes in the film would just be flat. Reused lines, music cues, and gags can only get you so far, but the film brings new ones to the table too. To compare, Dumb To is not the Hangover 2, because that pos is unbearable.
The villains in this film don’t live up to the original either. Having the chick from the Walking Dead that everyone hated, as well as the yelling guy from Step Brothers was just a bad call. They’re not menacing, have zero energy, and are useless. We all know Harry and Lloyd are their own worst enemies, so leave it at that, or at least have something related to the first film here. When I wanted it most, we got it the least. And to close on the dumber parts of the film, I’d like to point out that we get it. Everyone gets that these idiots don’t understand idioms, but by the end it was just beating a dead horse. If anything, they should definitely write us an IOU for all of those we had to endure.