The 90’s were not the greatest time for Hollywood, but Jim Carrey achieved not only fame and success, he very quickly became a legend. With hits like Ace Ventura, The Mask, and of course the original Dumb and Dumber, 1994 was probably the greatest breakout year any actor ever had, ever. Cut to 20 years later, and much has changed.
This movie (which happily ignores the dreadful 2003 prequel) begins at a psychiatric hospital where Lloyd (Jim Carrey) has been in a catatonic state since the aftermath of the first movie (which completely ignores his mind’s relatively un-fractured state at the end of that movie). Then Harry (Jeff Daniels) pays him a visit, which he’s been doing for 20 years because he’s his best friend. And that’s when Lloyd snaps out of it in a burst of laughter, revealing that his 20-year catatonic state was all one great big “Gotcha!” And all that is a huge sign (or warning; take your pick) of the type of comedy to follow.
Harry and Lloyd go home to their same old apartment where Harry reveals that he needs a new kidney, but doesn’t have a compatible donor. After sifting through some old mail, Harry learns that he’s going to be a father… 20 years ago! Now he can get that new kidney (from a daughter who doesn’t know he exists). Upon tracking down the mother, they find Harry’s daughter’s location as well as a photo of her all grown. Said photo causes Lloyd to fall in lust (or love?). So they set out on another road trip (yes, again) to find this girl.
The problem with that whole setup is that it’s all-too-familiar, and it gives you the impression that you’re in for a lot of the same jokes all over again, and that’d be sad if it wasn’t so true. A lot of the new jokes have a dark, sexual nature about them, which doesn’t seem to fit right with these characters. For anyone who’s seen the Unrated Version of the first movie, a lot of the new scenes had a similar sexual nature. It’s not that they’re not funny, it’s just that these characters had an innocence about them the first time around, and having them make a bunch of sex jokes takes that innocence away. And therein lies the biggest problem in this movie:
Harry and Lloyd have no innocence this time around. The first time they were completely unaware of their dumbness, they had heart and did things for the right reasons, and that’s what made them likable. Here they have no heart, they’re not good people, they’re practically aware and even proud of their dumbness. And they’re in it for selfish reasons; Harry for a kidney from a daughter he’s never met, and Lloyd just wants to get laid, even though he’s more than 30 years older than the girl (who he’s also never met). It’s two old guys that want something from a cute young girl. That’s just creepy.
If you’re going to do a sequel 20 years after the original, it needs to be different but the same, not the same with minor differences. That’s a 90’s thing to do. Another road trip, another love interest, and one proudly-dumb joke after another, disconnecting the viewer from characters they’re supposed to connect with via stupid jokes. Dumb and Dumber To is too dumb for Dumb and Dumber.
1 out of 5