Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Dumb and Dumber To

I'm a massive fan of the original Dumb and Dumber. I rank it up there with great comedies like Withnail and I and Blazing Saddles. From selling a blind kid their dead parakeet with its head taped onto its body, killing a dude with hot chilli's, getting confronting by a trucker in a toilet for “manly love” to falling for the same woman that obviously ends with one of them being shot, Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey really helped create a comedy classic with Dumb and Dumber in 1994. Then it was followed up with a completely unwanted prequel, Dumb and Dumberer. Without the involvement of the Farrelly brothers it was of course an abomination. Now, just over 20 years since the release of the original, the team has gotten back together for a direct sequel. Being technically as unwanted as the prequel was, is this direct sequel a dumb idea?


Directed by the Farrelly brothers and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Dumb and Dumber To, a film that has every reason to be utter crap, but ends up being genuinely hilarious. The story takes place 20 years after the original. We see Harry (Jeff Daniels) going to a psychiatric hospital to visit his friend, Lloyd (Jim Carrey). Apparently after the events of the first film, and his utterly doom/dead/failed romance with Mary Swanson, Lloyd lost his mind. Wheelchair bound and sporting a gigantic beard, all he can do is drool and go, “AAAUUUGHHHH!”, naturally. But being Lloyd he's only bullshitting Harry, and reveals that the last 20 years of being partially comatose, wheelchair bound with regularly Harry wiping his arse, has all being a prank. A 20 year prank, now that's dedication! Anyway, once Lloyd gets out Harry drops the bombshell that he needs a kidney transplant. After he suddenly finds out he's adopted from his parents (they're Chinese, by the way), Harry then discovers that he could be a father as Fraida Felcher, Harry's ex-girlfriend we only heard about in the first film, fell pregnant shortly after they were together. Like the first one Dumb and Dumber To is a road-trip film, but whereas the original focused on Lloyd's quest for love, this one is all about Harry's search for his potential daughter and her kidney.


First off, I wasn't exactly looking forward to this film. I really wasn't. There's no way it could be better than, or at least be as good as, Dumb and Dumber- and it isn't, but that's OK. The best part about Dumb and Dumber To is the fact that, even 20 years since playing these roles, both Daniels and Carrey easily become Harry and Lloyd again. From their mannerisms, attitude to how they perceive themselves and their complete inability to have a normal conversation with a regular person, it's a real joy to see them back on screen together. They insanely crude, make jokes about popping and farting and absolutely have no filter in place between their brain and their mouths. The rest of the cast pales in comparison to the fantastic chemistry these guys have together, but nonetheless do a fine job at being the dressing around the Harry and Lloyd delicious shit sandwich. 

The gags in Dumb and Dumber To come hard and fast, and I'd honestly say I laughed out loud at a good ¾ of them. However, my viewing experience was an odd one initially. Before re-watching it on Blu-Ray, I originally saw it in the cinema. I went with my girlfriend, and we were absolutely shocked to discover that the cinema was jam packed with kids. Like, tiny kids. They giggled at the farting and whatnot, but then came the scene in which Harry is imagining what's it like to be a father. In the scene he's there smoking a pipe and reading his paper, when his daughter walks up to him. She's crying and, well, lets just say that it's obvious that she's just had her first period. Without missing a beat Harry takes out a cork and gives it to her, pleased in the knowledge that he's a good dad. My girlfriend and I laughed amid pure silence, the kind of silence when a parent is clearly thinking, “Oh shit! What have I brought my child to see?! Little Timmy, NO!”. The lack of laughter only spurred me on. This went on through the film, and it made for one of the best/most awkward cinema experiences to date. Another one of those funny silences came about when, after Harry asks someone for a kidney, Lloyd says to the person something to the effect of, “unless you have full blown AIDS!”. I laughed and I heard parents groan. It was hilarious.


I don't want to ruin too much, but yeah, Dumb and Dumber To's humour is pretty much on par with the first one. It's juvenile and adolescent and has been attacked by critics, but what exactly were they expecting? It's a sequel to a film that contains a scene of a dude having explosive diarrhoea into a broken toilet and then dumping its contents out of a window. It's not high art, and though I went into Dumber and Dumber To expecting a bit of a shit film, I really enjoyed it. Yeah, it's not as good as the first one, and yeah, some jokes miss the mark, but like the first one it's a great blend of both humour and heart. I want a third film. Yeah, that's right, come at me.

Dumb and Dumber To is actually not shit (seriously) and gets a 4/5.

★★★★☆

Denis Murphy


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