With Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle. Rachel Melvin, Kathleen Turner. Written by Sean Anders, Mike Cerrone, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, John Morris, Bennett Yellin. Directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references. 109 minutes.
In a desperate attempt to save their dying careers filmmakers Bobby and Peter Farrelly return to the scene of their first big hit, the 1994 “Dumb and Dumber.” Watching Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels playing morons in their 30s was amusing to many. Watching them play the same roles in their 50s in DUMB AND DUMBER TO borders on the pathetic.
We know we’re in Farrelly territory early on when Harry Dunne (Daniels) comes to visit his friend Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) at a mental institution where he has been in a catatonic state for twenty years. From the moment Harry starts fussing with Lloyd’s catheter we know that not only is no joke too low, but they will be going out of their way to trade and wallow in bodily waste.
Soon the boys–the old boys–are back on the road. Harry announces he needs a kidney transplant and can’t find a donor only to discover that he has an adult daughter he never knew. Fraida (Kathleen Turner) had written to him and reveals their daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin) had been put up for adoption. Now Harry and Lloyd have to track her down, Lloyd convinced that the much younger Penny is the woman of his dreams.
There’s more, including a murder plot involving Rob Riggle playing twin brothers, but none of it matters. This is a move that celebrates aggressive and tasteless stupidity. To watch Jeff Daniels at the top of his game in the final season of HBO’s “The Newsroom” and then see him in this may impress you with his range, but may also leave you wishing you could unsee the movie and blot it from your memory (perhaps with a visit to the clinic from Carrey’s 2004 film, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). It’s not clear whether he did this for an unconscionable amount of money or because he took pity on the Farrellys whose last few films were “Movie 43,” “The Three Stooges,” and “Hall Pass,” among the worst films of recent memory. As for Carrey, after movies like “The Truman Show” and “Man on the Moon” showed there was a talented actor beyond the idiot roles that had made him a star, this seems like a giant step backwards.
The supporting cast does what they can with their roles. Riggle and Turner play it straight and Melvin uses her cuteness effectively to play off her own dumb character. Indeed, Melvin may be the only one able to say this movie represents a step up in her career. Her other 2014 film is something called “Zombeavers.”
Ultimately, “Dumb and Dumber To” is a film about two guys in their fifties who are largely oblivious to the world around them, are obsessed with below-the-waist humor, and enjoy pushing people into bushes. If this is your idea of a good time, you may enjoy it, although you may want to seek some help yourself. As for the Farrellys, you had a good run, but that was a long time ago. After this, it’s doubtful anyone will want to do “There’s Something More About Mary.”•••
Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His most recent book is Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood and the Bartender’s Guide. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.