Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To - 2014

"Dumb and Dumber To" - 2014
Dir. by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly - 1 hr. 49 min.

Official Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

It's been a while since I've watched the original "Dumb and Dumber," but that's another problem for another time.  I remember liking it a lot.  All things considered, even though I was not in the right frame of mind to laugh, I had an expiring free movie ticket that had to be used, and "Dumb and Dumber To" is what I chose to use it on.  I don't regret that choice at all.  Was this as good as the original?  Not exactly.  But it was still pretty funny, and wasn't just a re-hash of what came before (although it's been long enough since I've seen the original I could be off on that).

Twenty years have elapsed since Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) were seen last, but they haven't changed much.  Lloyd has apparently spent the last two decades in a mental institution, mute and wheelchair-bound, while Harry has been visiting him every week like clockwork.  When Harry tells Lloyd that he's going to have to stop visiting because of a medical problem, Lloyd snaps out of his fugue to reveal that the entire psychiatric stay has been one long joke on Harry.  They agree that it was super-funny.  But Harry needs a kidney, and after some stuff happens, he discovers that he has a daughter, from whom he might be able to get one from.  So Harry and Lloyd set out on the open road to track down Harry's long-lost daughter, which leads them to the KEN Conference (like Ted Talks).

I'll be honest - the first third of "To" wasn't fantastic.  It was okay, but it involved a lot of call-backs to the original film.  Once that's over with, and the film starts to try to stake out new comedic territory, it gets a lot better.  Yes, that's kind of relative, because you're going to have to find fart jokes, slapstick humor, and nearly-psychotically self-destructive stupidity to be funny, but I do, so we're all good here.  It's not called "Smart and Smarter: Deep Conversations with Brilliant Minds," so no complaining about the level of the humor.  You knew what you were getting into the second you selected this film for viewing.  As with many comedies of this nature, the plot is largely just an excuse to string together some funny ideas, and a road trip is a nearly ideal framework to string together funny ideas (like "Bad Grandpa" did, as well).

Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey are really funny together.  Carrey, in particular, provides a couple of the greatest "no way" reactions I've ever seen.  Rob Riggle has a pair of decent-sized roles in the film (he plays twins), and is a really good foil/target for Harry and Lloyd.  Rachel Melvin plays Harry's daughter with an idiotic zeal that's appealing and good-natured, nearing what Anna Faris has done with the bubble-head role in several movies.  Honestly, once the movie gets out of the throwback section and starts moving forward, everyone does a good job with what they've got to work with.

It's hard to analyze or talk seriously about a movie that involves locking someone in the back of a hearse with a pair of fresh farts for company.  The bottom line is whether or not the movie is funny (it is), and in the case of a sequel, whether it's a worthy addition to the franchise (which it is, even if it's not quite as good as I remember the original being).  It's a lot of fun watching Jim Carrey just being a raging asshole idiot again, it's fun watching Jeff Daniels in on it, and it's fun watching them double-team Rob Riggle when he tries to butt heads with them.  This movie could have been much, much worse, and that's something that you have to remember.  It took twenty years to get all of the important people on the same page, and in that span of time there was spin-off that no one wants to remember.  So the fact that a pretty decent second "Dumb and Dumber" exists is pretty awesome in itself.

3 / 5 -  Theatre

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