Monday, 22 December 2014

Dumb And Dumber To (2014)

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels return to play Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne in this sequel to the 1994 comedy that showed Hollywood just how much money could be made from dumb.

As is the case in reality, the two main characters have seen 20 years go by since their last big adventure. It looks like their inactivity must come to an end, however, when Harry confesses that he needs a new kidney. That makes it the perfect time for him to track down the daughter that he has also just found out about. As Lloyd intimates, as soon as Harry bonds with his daughter then he should have a match for a potential kidney donor. And so the two head off on a road trip, one that brings up some familiar situations, including their lives being endangered as they unwittingly upset some bad people with criminal plans.

The Farrelly brothers (Peter and Bobby) are also back in the saddle for this trip down, or at least by, memory lane, and there are one or two fun cameo appearances by people who were given small roles in the first movie. There's also a great cameo from *[redacted to stay spoiler-free]* that ends up being more fun just because of the role, as opposed to the material that anyone is working with.

The supporting players include Laurie Holden, Rob Riggle and Steve Tom as the three main people who end up needing to keep tags on our two leading idiots, Rachel Melvin is the estranged daughter who has gone off on her own journey, and Kathleen Turner is the infamous Fraida Felcher, mother to the young girl and ex-girlfriend of Harry (and also, if you recall, possibly Lloyd). But, as was the case the first time around, this is a showcase for Carrey and Daniels to let loose and channel every dumb urge they've ever had, and they do one helluva job. Slipping back into the characters comfortably enough, the interplay between the two provides more fun than any of the one-liners or the weak set-pieces.

Remember when it was hilarious to watch Jeff Daniels go through some bowel-related torture before he was due to go out with a beautiful young woman? The biggest set-piece in Dumb & Dumber was also, arguably, the grossest. But it worked. It still does. I laugh long and hard every time I watch that sequence. And I'll return to it many times before ever wanting to revisit a scene in this movie that sees a character inadvertently pleasuring a bed-ridden old woman as he searches for something hidden under some bedsheets. Remember when it was hilarious to watch that dream sequence in which Carrey turned into a kung-fu killer? Yes, the sequel also revisits that moment, and pretty much sets it up in exactly the same way. These two examples highlight the main failing here, because when the film isn't trying to top, or even repeat, the gags from the first movie it doesn't do too badly.

I was laughing quite often at the smallest verbal gags, and enjoyed a lot of the dumb mispronounciations and misunderstandings a lot more than any of the material that placed Riggle alongside the two leads in moments far too reminiscent of the scenes that featured Mike Starr in the first movie. Sean Anders and John Morris are the main writers this time around, but I can imagine a fair bit of improvisation took place, and the Farrely brothers may have also had their own ideas on set, so I'm not going to place the blame entirely on their shoulders. A lot of the dialogue works. Most of the scatological humour doesn't. This may not have been so obvious if it wasn't always reminding you of how much better the first movie was, from the many joke callbacks (which, to be fair, often provided an extra little chuckle), to the pacing and beats of the road trip, to the soundtrack choices (I noticed at least a couple of tunes recycled from the soundtrack of the first movie).

I hope this is wraps everything up for Lloyd and Harry now. There are laughs to be had here, but I was left ultimately disappointed. And that's coming from someone who didn't actively hate Dumb And Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.


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