Dumb and Disappointing Too
“No, it’s a cardigan. But thanks for noticing.”
To this day I still laugh at this line from the original Dumb & Dumber. That movie was an absolute classic and like many people I remember it fondly. It’s natural to meet any sequel with an imbued skepticism because they often fall short of the original and this is especially true when the original is a classic.
Let’s just shatter any dreams of grandeur right out the gate; this is nowhere near as good as the first one. That said there are a good few laughs to be had along the way and probably more so if you don’t hold the original on a pedestal. Unfortunately I do.
It’s really great that they have brought back lots of charters from the original and have tried to weave in aspects of the original to provide a coherent story. This interweaving of stories is done somewhat successfully but I believe that this has also hampered this film because it heavily relies on nostalgia rather than providing a new adventure.
Part of the problem is that Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are trying to be exactly the same as original. Trying being the key word here because some of the goofiness feels all too forced. I think this is mainly because the actors are a lot older now but the characters they play have not developed. It’s as if no life experiences have happened in the last twenty years so the comedy, particularly at the start, feels awkward like watching bad dancing at a wedding.
To it’s credit it does try to deal with the non-existent character development by kicking off the film with Lloyd sitting in a mental institution for 20 years after loosing Mary Swanson in the original film. All this turns out to be a frankly unfunny and utterly dumb prank. One of the dumbest things I remember doing is putting my hand on one larger railing and using it to push off/side kick/vault over a smaller rail next to the larger one and land gracefully on the other side. All that happened was a landed arse first on the small rail and proceeded to crumple into a heap on the floor. Dumb, but no-where near as dumb as a 20 year setup for a prank.
There is a massive payoff at the end of the film that references this 20 year prank that is pretty clever and one of the funnier moments of the film. In fact, the whole film gets better and funnier as it nears it’s conclusion. Unfortunately – and this is true for a lot of films – the trailer shows too much which let’s you know the setup or the punchline to many of the gags.
The gags are perhaps the only thing that has changed between the two films and whilst it’s not a deal breaker they have changed for the worst. If you look on IMDB the succinct plot summary for the original states “The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends.” In this film they are not good-hearted at all, in fact they are positively malicious which destroys a lot of the charm of the original.
Before I saw this film I wondered if the original was a film of it’s time and whether we have no place for such a stupid comedy but then I remembered that we seem to praise stupidity by glorifying idiots look Joey Essex or Paris Hilton. After seeing the film I realise that this isn’t the innocently stupid comedy you wanted it’s a labored and brash comedy that tries to be stupid in the name of nostalgia. It has its moments, and is no way near the worst comedy of the year, but it is a dumb sequel to a stupidly fun original.
- Contains a number of decent laughs
- Pay off to the 20 years prank is well worked
- If you are desperate to see a sequel to the original no matter what
- If the original is revered to you
- If you prefer your comedies with subtlety and intellegance
- If you are looking for a hapless comedy of situations