DUMB AND DUMBER 2. Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Kathleen Turner, Bill Murray. Directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. 109 minutes. Rated M (Crude and sexual references, violence, coarse language and drug references).
If you wait long enough, something might happen. 20 years is a comparatively long time in film history, and a lot of those lining up at the box office to see this comedy were not even thought of when the Dumb and Dumber first came out. Those who laughed, some unashamedly, some with embarrassment, in those 90s days might line up for this one and find it more than a touch embarrassing! Of course, the writers-directors, the Farrelly Bros, intended this.
For those who wonder how they enjoyed the dumbness on screen in the 1990s, but will be hard put to explain why the present film has been made and what audience it will attract. The good news is, if you wait right until the end of the credits, and watched the final gag, a card comes up which announces Dumb and Dumber For. But it adds the information that this sequel is due for release in 2034! Why not! The stars will be in their 70s, the fans from the 90s will possibly be in their 50s (or more) and the young kids who laughed loudly and delightedly during the screening will be into their 30s – or, for quite a number of them, approaching 30.
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back again. Jim Carrey not having had such a successful career in recent years seems to be putting extra effort into his traditional mugging, to make sure that nobody makes a mistake about his interpretation of Lloyd. Jeff Daniels has had a strong career both before Dumb and Dumber and afterwards, including a top televisions, The Newsroom. He seems far more relaxed in this film, being a good sport, still game enough to play the mop head (awry) Harry and expose himself to his public, in more ways than one.
Lloyd has been in an institution for 20 years, immobile, not responding – and suddenly he explains why. Harry has been visiting in the 20 years and looking after him, and surviving who knows how – and we realise that they have continually played games of Gotch on each other! They go to see Harry’s parents, Koreans who adopted him, and he finds in his mail, a letter 20 years from on an old flame, Frida Filcher (a game Kathleen Turner) who tells him that she had a daughter.. He assumes it is his (and with the revelation at the end of the film, it is a wonder that he and Lloyd could have thought this) and, since he says he has been diagnosed as needing kidney transplant, he and Lloyd go off to find the girl, and a potential kidney.
One joke is that they arrive back at Frida’s house because in their search, Harry had looked only at the back of the envelope with the return address instead of where the letter had been sent! That is one of the funnier jokes for an adult audience. The rest of the film is full of dopey interchanges between the two, elaboration of their dopey characters, lots of pratfalls, lots of slapstick, lots of bodily function junction innuendo and situations, and behaviour like 10-year-olds (with apologies to most 10-year-olds). The comedy is for some guffaws, especially from the 10-year-olds in the audience (which happened).
The finding of the daughter is not too difficult after the initial stupidities, and it is revealed that she has been adopted by a top scientist who was about to go to a convention in El Paso to receive an award and to offer, in a box, hope for the future of the human race. The daughter certainly does not look anything like Harry, is more like Lloyd and behaves a bit like him – the scientist’s intelligence does not seem to have rubbed off on her. But, the scientists is married to an avaricious wife who wants his money, especially from his science insights, and conspires with the handyman to get rid of him – but, since the daughter left the important box behind, he has to travel with Harry and Lloyd, leading to a whole lot of dumb and dumber situations and practical jokes -and attempted murder.
There are some twists at the end of the film, especially with Kathleen Turner turning up to meet her daughter. And the paternity issue is solved.
There was some years back a prequel called Dumb and Dumberer. This does mean that Dumb and Dumberest was available as a title for this film. It would have been most suitable as it turns out. So, who is the film for? Nostalgia for the middle-aged? But they will realise that they have moved beyond Harry and Lloyd. For the younger audiences, probably – but they will now have to wait another 20 years for their moments of disillusionment.
That’s it: a film in which we can release our dopey inner child!
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Released 8th January 2015.