‘Dumb and Dumber To’ movie review: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels return for belated sequel


A few notes on Dumb and Dumber To, a belated sequel to the accurately-titled 1994 film that paired Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and launched the career of writers-directors The Farrelly Brothers, who have achieved great success without diversifying themselves since their debut:

  • The original, let’s face it, is no classic. A few of the gags are memorable – Roger Ebert liked the parakeet bit so much he almost recommended the movie – but can you recall the storyline?

  • This sequel isn’t very good, but I can’t honestly say it’s much worse than the first film. Gags fly just as fast and furious, and while most of them miss the mark, every once in a while there’s a genuine laugh. That’s more than I can say for most mainstream comedies.

  • Carrey and Daniels still make an engaging screen duo. But Carrey is now 54 and Daniels is pushing 60; watching them play these juvenile goofballs feels a lot more awkward than it did 20 years ago.

  • The film’s biggest drawback is a cruel streak that undercuts a lot of the humor. Seeing these characters as clueless idiots is fun, but that fun wanes when they seem to genuinely take pleasure in causing pain, or shout out “show us your tits” at a science convention, or lust after college girls. They’ve lost their innocence.

  • Also missing: a genuine threat in the form of a straight man that Carrey and Daniels can play off. Mike Starr stole the first movie as the criminal on the leads’ trial. Rob Riggle – who can be just as goofy as the stars – doesn’t fill that role quite as well here (playing twins, no less.)

  • Throwbacks to the first film might be endearing to fans; to me, they feel lazy. These include appearances by Billy, the blind kid with the parakeet (played by the same actor) and the return of the Mutts Cutts Van, which are fine, but also direct lifts from some of the earlier jokes, like when Carrey does a variation on the line “Yeah – he must work out.” Twice. Also: “You want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?”; “I like it a lot”; etc.

If you’re heading into cinemas to see a movie called Dumb and Dumber To, you probably know what you’re getting into. The same could be said of the first film. I don’t think anyone could reasonably cry foul here, though there will inevitably be fans with unreasonable expectations. 

This film is basically a remake of the road movie original, with Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne travelling across the country unwittingly carrying a valuable package, trailed by criminals out to nab said package, so Lloyd can catch up with a hot girl. This time around, the hot girl is the daughter that Harry never knew he had. He’s trying to get to her because he needs a kidney transplant. 

The unoriginal nature of the story is just as well – I don’t think anyone cares that much about series continuity or furthering the story of Harry and Lloyd (remember the prequel, Dumb and Dumberer? No?) Riggle and Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) are the villains chasing our heroes, Steve Tom is the distinguished professor who gives them the package… yeah, we don’t care about that, either. 

I don’t think you need to read this review to decide if you want to see Dumb and Dumber To, and I don’t think you need me to tell you to turn off your brain to have some fun here. There are some good gags. There are many that fall flat. There are some that reveal an unnecessary meanness, including those directed at Kathleen Turner. 

Up for a better experience? Check out the Farrelly Brothers’ previous film, their take on The Three Stooges; that movie was seen by few, but it was the directors’ best since There’s Something About Mary, and contained many of the qualities Dumber and Dumber To is desperately trying to achieve. 

Note: stick around after the closing credits for an additional scene.

Dumb and Dumber To


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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