If I hear someone say they thought Dumb and Dumber To was funny, I know I should never listen to that person’s opinion on a comedy ever again. I sat in my seat during this movie wanting to laugh, willing to laugh, but one never came. Yes, you read that right. I did not laugh a single time during this movie. I had to entertain myself by looking over at people who were laughing and silently judging them. I felt bored and restless for much of Dumb and Dumber To.
That’s too bad, because I am a fan of the original Dumb & Dumber. After seeing the sequel I even worried that the only reason I enjoyed the first one was because I was 12 years old when I first saw it (luckily, I re-watched the original and it still holds up – it’s funny and generally good-natured). I wasn’t expecting much from Dumb and Dumber To, being that it’s a comedy sequel (which almost never work) and it comes 20 years after the original (which strikes me as a desperate nostalgia grab) but I was somehow still surprised that it met my already low expectations.
What’s surprising about Dumb and Dumber To is how lazy (there’s a definite lack of energy here; at least the original had a fun soundtrack to keep things moving), old-fashioned and mean-spirited it is, from the characters to just the material in general. Much has changed since the last time we caught up with Lloyd and Harry, and -- trust me -- you don’t want to know what a 50-something Harry and Lloyd are like. They are dirty old men who have soured with time. It’s disheartening to see that their meager life goals from the original never came true and now they are just coasting through life being assholes. At least give them the worm store!
The set pieces and the script are just awful in this thing. I mean, we’re talking shoving women into bushes, armpit farting noises and fingering an old bedridden woman. Who thinks this shit is funny?
The Majestic, is on hand but given nothing to do other than be severe and suck Rob Riggle’s toe. Riggle tries and leaves little impact. I felt bad for Kathleen Turner, who is a source of ridicule for her aging appearance. The only cast member who comes off ok is Rachel Melvin ,who plays Penny, the progeny of Fraida and possibly Harry or Lloyd. She’s appealing and, in the only smart move of the filmmakers, is portrayed to be just as dumb as the lead characters. I wasn’t bored when she was onscreen and, at that point, I’ll take that.
I’m annoyed with writer-directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly because they haven’t thought out any reason for the audience to once again catch up with these characters. At least in the original we got some insight into the dreams and aspirations of these two dumb guys (“I’m tired of being a nobody….I’m tired of having nobody”) and here, in the sequel, we learn nothing new, interesting or of consequence about them. Even in a stupid comedy, you should have a reason for being. Plus, it might be just me, but the Farrelly style of comedy is so passé and of the '90s it’s to the point of being jarring in 2014. It’s stale like some old crackers.
It seems to me that Carrey, Daniels and the Farrellys enjoyed working together on the original; they were all in need of a hit and tried to capture lightning in a bottle once more. Unfortunately for the audience, they did not succeed. What a disheartening trend it has been over the last 15 years to see the once transgressive and audacious Farrelly Brothers become such cinematic limp dicks.