Twenty years have passed since Lloyd and Harry left us in the original Dumb and Dumber. This weekend, they’re back with Dumb and Dumber To. The press got to see the film Wednesday night ahead of the Friday opening. The buzz is… well, find out after the jump by reading some Dumb and Dumber To reviews.
Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: Not everyone is going to laugh at this movie. If you didn’t like Jim Carrey’s antics 20 years ago, odds are he’s not going to change your mind now. If goofy pratfalls, outrageous gross-out humor, and people doing absurd and profoundly foolish things to one another doesn’t sound appealing, save your money. If you’re too good to laugh at the sight of a cat pooping feathers, you should probably seek entertainment elsewhere. Don’t go see this movie because I liked it and then send me a tweet complaining it was stupid. I’ll tell you right now what I’d tweet back: “Yes, exactly.” This movie is stupendously stupid.
For fans of the original, which was a true high-water mark in Hollywood buffoonery, it may be tough to resist the charm of seeing these two actors play stupid again—and both Carrey and Daniels slip into their old chemistry with uncanny ease. But the buzz wears off quickly, harshed as it is by the increasingly sad spectacle of two fiftysomething movie stars acting like horny, leering teenagers. When, during a science conference, Harry and Lloyd shout “show us your tits” in unison at a young woman onstage, it becomes clear that the characters are now less guileless nincompoops than dirty old men. This time around, they’re gross (and dumb) in all the wrong ways.
D&D To visually checks off all of the first film’s hallmarks: the dog-groomer van, the upside-down breath spray moment, Petey the parakeet’s blind owner, the ”most annoying sound in the world.” The occasional clever sight gag proves the Farrellys are down but not quite out (a good one has Harry and Lloyd riding a bike together…that’s already mounted on a bus’ bike rack). But the material feels more desperate than funny (”yankos los pee-pee,” for example, is said to Mexican orderlies regarding a catheter mishap). Carrey and Daniels are forced to wring this middling material so hard they must have calluses. The ultimate sad realization is not that Dumb & Dumber To doesn’t match the original’s good-time quotient, but that it might not even be as good as—yikes—Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.
What may have been subversive and irreverent in 1994, now just seems vulgar, hateful and tone-deaf — from their unabashedly misogynistic treatment of women (including Kathleen Turner as Penny’s mom) to their insidious racism. In the harsh light of 2014, their juvenile buffoonery looks embarrassing and lazy. It’s hard to imagine a new generation latching on to this brand of humor.