In a year full of sequels that nobody asked for (see: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, 300: Rise of an Empire, Expendables 3, The Purge: Anarchy, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, etc. [honestly there’s a bunch more]), Dumb and Dumber To was one of the movies I kind of didn’t mind that they were making. Throwing all caution to the wind, I not only paid to see this movie, but I sort of looked forward to it.
For all the other people out there who bought a ticket as well, would you like a reason to validate your purchase to anyone who doesn’t understand your thought process…? JIM CARREY. The guy’s still got it! Even though he’s acted in a bunch of projects since 1994, his recent slow down of work and neutered quality of projects (save for an Eternal Sunshine or a Truman Show), it’s felt like 20 years have passed since we’ve seen the *true* Jim Carrey back in action. He’s just as spry and capable of his trademark physical comedy as he ever was. Even given the half-witted script, as long as he’s given free reign to be the spazzy weirdo he was born to be, that makes it worth the price of admission alone, in my opinion. And kudos to Jeff Daniels as well, who has had a bit of a resurgence as being an Aaron Sorkin dramatic walk-and-talker, stepped right back into Harry Dunne’s (probably cheap velcro) shoes and fit in as perfectly as he did before.
And I laughed! Ohhhhhh, I laughed. Well, at least I chuckled, and chuckled pretty consistently throughout the entire thing. For every Jay Leno quality bad joke that should have been edited out, there was a pretty well crafted (yet also stupid) joke that totally worked. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at the movie theater as when Jim Carrey was sweet talking a ferocious dog at a gas station. The scene had nothing to do with anything except to show how clueless Lloyd Christmas is, it was only 15 seconds long, and it cracked me up. There were a few other moments like that (with slightly softer laughing from me) scattered through the movie. My favorite thing about Harry and Lloyd isn’t just how dumb they are, it’s also how big of assholes they are as a result of being so dumb. The things that really make me laugh at Dumb and Dumber To are all the little moments of casual littering, aloof theft, and complete disregard for anyone else’s feelings or well-being. And they are a plenty.
Now, while Dumb and Dumber To is obviously stupid comedy, you kind of have to acknowledge that it’s supposed to be stupid, right? It aimed low and achieved low. But for almost every seemingly clever joke in the movie, there was also an undeniably terrible joke. A swing and a miss type joke. Then it sort of becomes an issue of thinking that even though they aimed to make a piece of shit, and it is intended to be a piece of shit, and they were successful in creating the piece of shit they were hoping for… …that… …that still doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a piece of shit, right? We could all have a giant debate about the merits of intentionally unintelligent comedy vs. unforgivably bad jokes; but then we’d be going a little too deep into the context of a movie where Jeff Daniels changes Jim Carrey’s diapers. However, if we did have this formal debate, I’d suggest we hold it at Harvard University, with top experts in the field of the human condition, and only if the debaters were forced to give all of their arguments while talking out of their butts, Ace Ventura style.
I don’t know, call me as dumb as the guys in the movie, call me a 90s sympathizer, call me what you will… I didn’t hate this movie. And maybe because I have a nostalgic tingle for these characters, and Jim Carrey was pretty much my favorite actor when I was 11 years old, but I kind of have a weird defensive attitude for this where I’m willing to unapologetically defend it as “kinda alright.” Maybe I just wanted to like it? Is that so terrible? Probably… But I laughed more during this than I did during the last 7 Farrelly Brothers’ movies combined.
With that, I give this an asterisked score:
*7.5 out of 10
*THIS MOVIE WILL BE STUPID AND SILLY AND YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT ALREADY BEFORE YOU EVEN SEE IT, SO DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW STUPID AND SILLY IT IS WHEN YOU DO ACTUALLY SEE IT.