Harry and Lloyd are back twenty years later in Dumb and Dumber To, the long-awaited sequel to the Farrelly Brothers’ smash hit comedy, Dumb and Dumber. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels return to their respective roles and prove they still have the chemistry to make the incredibly aloof duo hilarious, but while there are quite a few individual laughs, the overall film is definitely not better than the sum of its individual parts.
The film picks up in “real-time” twenty years after Lloyd’s (Jim Carrey) failed attempt to romance Mary Swanson (or Samsonite). Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd partner up again following Lloyd’s “awakening” after faking a state of comatose in a mental care facility for the duration between the films. Harry is in need of a kidney transplant and after the revelation that he has a long-lost daughter, the poor idiots set off on an adventure to reunite the father and daughter and hopefully get a kidney transplant from her in the process.
Carrey and Daniels are on their game in the film and easily slip back into their iconic comedic characters. There is absolutely no “phoning in” their performances for a paycheck, and the actors legitimately appear to be having a good time. The humor is still as dumb and crass as you’d expect from the film (and most of the Farrelly Brothers’ work) with quite a few raunchy, outrageous scenes that produce squirm inducing laughs. While both actors have noticeably aged, it’s easy to quickly let that pass as the characters get immediately get back into their familiar antics.
The problem with Dumb and Dumber To isn’t in Carrey and Daniels, but in the way the story is presented as way too formulaic, while trying a little too hard to replicate the magic of the first film. I laughed quite a few times during individual scenes and jokes, but the story follows nearly the same exact beats as its predecessor – even recycling too many of the same jokes for nostalgia. It suffers from Family Guy syndrome where there are plenty of great jokes, but the story connecting them all is lazy and poorly connected.
Newcomers to the cast this time around include funny guy Rob Riggle, who is only mildly funny here, in a dual role that’s basically the hitman character from the first film. Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) is the greedy wife of a wealthy inventor that fills the role of greedy kidnapping mastermind Nicholas Andre from the first film.
Kathleen Turner is Fraida Felcher, a character only referenced in the first film, but is a good sport in a role that isn’t very flattering to her. Her on screen daughter, played by Rachel Melvin, is the Mary Swanson of this film and also the gal with the kidney Harry so badly needs. Melvin is very cute and quite funny, and I would like to have seen more done with this also very dim character, rather than being mostly used as an ongoing plot point.
Fans of the original Dumb and Dumber (myself a huge fan) will definitely enjoy the cameos and references to the first film, and although there are far too many callbacks, Dumb and Dumber To has surprising restraint with some of the bigger things like the Dog Van and Carrey’s main catchphrase. I expected those to be milked far more than they actually ended being in final film.
The premise had a lot of potential, but the Farrelly’s reliance on keeping an almost identical story structure resulted in a weaker impersonation of the original. Dumb and Dumber To isn’t a disaster and certainly has its hilarious moments, but I can’t help but feel that after 20 years there should have been a tighter, more original film.