'Dumb and Dumber To' review: Retread of a cult comedy - but with fewer jokes
Even the most forgiving audience - who accepts "Dumb and Dumber To" (opening in theaters Nov. 14) as some sort of bizarre character study of two imbeciles - must also realize this meandering comedy has too few laughs to justify its near 2-hour running time ... or even this sequel's existence.
In short: Lloyd and Harry (Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels) travel across the U.S. to find Harry's daughter, who was given up for adoption. (Watch the trailer)
Even cutting this sequel as much slack as possible doesn't forgive the underwhelming chore that is "Dumb and Dumber To." There's virtually no important plot -- at best, it's a slightly warmed-over version of the original "Dumb and Dumber" plot (road trip to find girl, return item to her). OK, fine - it's a movie called "Dumb and Dumber," so it doesn't need a plot.
Its every attempt at humor falls into one of three categories: bodily-fluid-based gross-out humor, misusing the English language or absurd physical comedy. Apologists for this unnecessary sequel may defend these low-brow gags as the hallmark of the first movie -- except most of these jokes are recycled from the first movie. The 'most annoying sound in the world,' Billy in (Apartment) 4C, Seabass and several other reused jokes are dusted off in a sad effort to revisit nostalgic jokes that comes off as stale and lazy.
Even if "Dumb and Dumber To" is accepted as a plotless, low-brow misadventure with two morons - it's most damning failure is the long breaks between even chuckle-worthy bits. With only a vague plot, this sequel is really a string of loosely connected nonsequiter "aren't these guys stupid" jokes -- and most of them are just not that funny. A meager hand full of these bits are solid -- but none of them bring down the house with laughter. Even the strongest comedies have the occassional punchline misfire - but "Dumb and Dumber To" has many more jokes that fall flat than ones that are truly hilarious. Even sadder is an apparent awareness that the comedy isn't working - which is why so many jokes from the original are revisited, only without the timing or execution this time around.
All that said, Carrey and Daniels clearly have a strong grasp of these two IQ-impaired buddies. The script allows them to react purely and genuinely in character, which allows even the most over-the-top scenes to feel less absurd than they should seem. Carrey and Daniels execution of Lloyd and Harry is commendable -- the tedious and lumbering script just doesn't match the strength of their sharply-timed performances.
"Dumb and Dumber" has such goodwill that it may fool entrenched fans of the original cult hit that this sequel is as good, if not better, than the original. The sad truth is this rudderless comedy is a watered-down retread of the original - except with fewer genuinely funny moments and worse pacing.
Final verdict: This flick has some very funny "wow these guys are stupid" moments, but these laughs are too few and far between to call this a worthy sequel or even a mediocre comedy. Add "Dumb and Dumber To" to the list of disappointing comedy sequels of all time, alongside "Anchorman 2" and "The Hangover, Part II."
"Dumb and Dumber To" opens in theaters nationwide Nov. 14 and is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references.