‘I’ ON CULTURE
Dumb and Dumber To is remarkably unfunny. How bad is it? There were more laughs in the drama Interstellar than in this so-called comedy. We waited 20 years for a sequel and could have waited a hundred more. This film is a stinker. Since directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly have not had a hit in years, nor have stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, we can assume they simply needed money. But, frankly, there is no excuse for this movie other than the hope that they could make money on the first weekend before word of mouth got out.
The story is ridiculous. Lloyd (Jim Carrey) has been in a coma for 20 years, and Harry (Jeff Daniels) comes to visit once a week. As the movie opens, he tells Lloyd, lolling in a wheelchair, that he won’t be coming much soon because he has a serious medical problem. Lloyd starts to gasp, and when Harry comes close, he jumps up, yelling “Gotcha.” Harry, shocked, asks, “You mean you threw away 20 years of your life just to play a gag?” Lloyd happily agrees. Harry asks, “Wouldn’t it have been funny after 10 years?” and Lloyd says, “But not as… ” This is what passed for humor. The filmmakers even left time after the line for laughs, but the theater I was in stayed silent.
Harry has kidney problems and needs a transplant. He and Lloyd pay a visit to his parents, both Asian, and has to be told he is adopted, which he has trouble accepting. It might have been funny if they had not telegraphed where they were going with it at the start of the scene. But there is a postcard from an old girlfriend Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) from 20 years earlier in the mail that his parents collected that says she is pregnant. The two idiots meet with her and discover she gave her daughter up for adoption, but she knows where she is.
Most of the rest of the movie is the morons’ search for Penny (Rachel Melvin), who it turns out is just about as dumb as they are. There is a subplot in the middle of this as her stepmother is out to kill her adoptive father (Steve Tom) with the help of her lover (Rob Riggle). Eventually, they end up at a major tech conference where the stepmother and twin brother of the lover attempt to steal a billion-dollar secret. In the meantime, idiot Harry is mistaken for the brilliant stepfather, which gives him an opportunity to say a lot of dumb things that might have seemed funny to the writers but simply seem stupid when on screen. And, of course, there are lots of fart jokes and sex jokes throughout, but not one of them is really funny.
I would hate to describe the performances as acting. Carrey does his shtick, something we’ve all seen many times and which has gotten very old. Daniels is more or less the straight man, although he is given a lot of lines the writers probably thought were actually amusing. I have called the two characters a lot of names in this review. Note that I avoided the word “stooges.” Those characters were fabulous compared to these two. I did enjoy Melvin’s performance. She did a better impersonation of Carrey than Carrey did. Everything else was forgettable.
I love comedies and believe we need more of them. Unfortunately, this movie is remarkably unfunny. Time after time, it simply shows its lead actors doing things that are unpleasant to others. In some ways, it is a paean to sociopathy, as Harry and Lloyd do things that simply hurt others without noting the damage they do.
Perhaps the rise of reality shows had blunted our comic reaction to stupid people. Perhaps we’ve seen too many dumb characters on regular shows. But this movie is an absolute dud. It is not even one where I can tell you to wait until it appears on television. They should make this one a “pay per view” movie where you get paid for watching it. I went to this movie so you don’t have to. I might even deserve a medal for that.