Harry Dunne: Whoa, Lloyd. Check out the hotties at 12 o'clock.
Lloyd Christmas: That's three hours away. Why can't I check 'em out now?
Did you laugh?
I sure did. In fact, I laughed a lot throughout Dumb and Dumber To, the official sequel to the Dumb and Dumber, though you could probably figure that out on your own unless your name happens to be Lloyd, Harry, or possibly Penny.
To be sure, Dumb and Dumber To isn't a particularly smart comedy nor is it a particularly original one. The Farrelly Brothers, for the most part, haven't significantly deviated from their directorial roadmap in the 20+ years they've been making films. This may be why it has been awhile since the Farrelly's have experienced anything resembling the box-office success of their early years.
Those days are, indeed, long gone it would seem. Dumb and Dumber To looks and feels famliar. Dumb and Dumber To runs a good half-hour too long. For every bit of comedic genius in Dumb and Dumber To, there's at least one that is almost cringingly off the mark.
But, I laughed. I laughed a lot.
In fact, as much as Dumb and Dumber To didn't feel nearly as fresh or as edgy and did, in fact, run a good 30 minutes too long, I found myself once again appreciating everything I'd appreciated about the first film from its sophomoric humor to its unabashed sweetness to its shameless naughtiness.
This is what I love about the Farrelly Brothers. They live in a world that for all its potty-mouth humor and over-the-top antics is filled with a surprising degree of diversity and warmth.
It doesn't hurt, of course, that both Carrey and Daniels are at home in these characters. Recent publicity for Dumb and Dumber To has revealed that Carrey received a $7 million payday for the first film, while co-star Daniels received a relative pittance at $50,000. It would be interesting to see the numbers now that Daniels continues to find steady and highly acclaimed television work, while the careers of both Carrey and the Farrelly's have been flagging. While it's more than a little awkward, at least initially, to see 50+ year-old men portraying two guys who are practically the definition of man-children, this is the kind of role that Carrey was made for with a hilarious weaving together of physical comedy and an earnest enthusiasm that is downright contagious. While Carrey carries most of the comic load here, Daniels is an essential as the film's dry-witted heart and soul and the consummate reactor to Carrey's outrageousness.
The film kicks off with Lloyd having been institutionalized for twenty years in a state of catatonic grief over Mary Samsonite.
That's a lot of luggage to carry, ya know?
Before long, we learn that Harry needs a kidney and, lo' and behold, Harry also has a daughter, Penny (Rachel Melvin), apparently from a youthful tryst with the infamous Fraida (Kathleen Turner). As it turns out, Fraida gave Penny up for adoption into the household of famed scientist Dr. Pinchelow (Steve Tom) and his wife, Adele (Laurie Holden), who just so happens to be holdin' someone else, Travis (Rob Riggle), while planning the untimely demise of Dr. Pinchelow in order to snag his cash.
It doesn't really matter.
The story, fundamental as it is, is really just a set-up for us to get Lloyd and Harry on the road to the KEN Conference, an ultra-secure science convention not that far removed from the similarly pretentious TED talks.
Who is Ted anyway?
There were scenes where I laughed hysterically precisely because they were so absurdly stupid, such as our introduction to a cat named "Butthole" and an extended bit of physical comedy involving Lloyd and a hotdog that simply had me in stitches and I'm still not exactly sure why. Oh sure, there were scenes and ongoing gags that felt completely dead including older pop culture references that seemed to have no connection whatsoever to what was going on, but with two so relentlessly committed performers as Carrey and Daniels even these scenes didn't so much come off as deadening as they just make you realize that at 110-minutes in length this film is just a tad too long.
My gut tells me that most folks who enjoyed Dumb and Dumber will enjoy Dumb and Dumber To, though possibly on a lesser level. While the rest of the cast is secondary to Carrey and Daniels, Chicago-born Rachel Melvin makes a name for herself here as the ditzy yet sweet Penny. Rob Riggle is strong as usual, though it's a shame to see Kathleen Turner wasted in a thankless, one-note role.
Dumb and Dumber To won't be the best comedy you've seen in 2014, but it's a silly and splendid way to spend a couple hours at the movie theater with Lloyd, Harry, Billy, Ken, and Butthole.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic