After the highly disappointing Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Jim Carrey vowed never to act in another sequel to one of his classic comedies again, unless a script came along that he believed in. Well, with some convincing from revered comedy legends The Farrelly Brothers, Carrey caved and signed on to reprise his role as Lloyd Christmas for Dumb And Dumber To.
Does this sequel truly provide a script to believe in though? And more importantly, is the script able to produce something even remotely as hilarious a film as what many people consider – myself included – to be one of the funniest films of the last 20 years? The answer is yes and no. For the most part, Lloyd and Harry are the same two exceptionally dimwitted buffoons we fell in love with 20 years ago. There’s one scene where they mistake embalming fluid for a slushy. It’s absolutely ridiculous and the exact kind of shenanigans that had us shaking our heads while simultaneously laughing 20 years ago.
Anyone who has revisited the original Dumb And Dumber on a loop over the years (raises hand) will also tell you that it wasn’t just slapstick comedy that ensured the film’s cult classic status. There was also the fact that you were bombarded with an onslaught of sharply written humor and dialogue that simultaneously pointed out how stupid Harry and Lloyd are and told jokes that, in some cases, could even go over the viewer’s head. Not because the viewer is stupid, but because the jokes were fired at such a rapid pace that it was actually hard to keep up with them. Unfortunately, Dumb And Dumber To doesn’t reach the sharpness or quickness of the original, but there are still a lot of subtle jokes that will need to be caught on repeat viewings.
The elephant in the room, however, is most definitely the gross-out humor, of which there is admittedly a tad too much of in the sequel. Thankfully, it is nowhere near as graphic as what you see in most modern comedies. Instead, it’s more in line with scenes from the original; like Harry getting his frozen tongue and boogers stuck to a pole. That’s a welcome aspect, too, because Dumb And Dumber is more about innocence and idiocy, not openly trying to be as obscene as possible.
There are some moments early on in the film, though, where Lloyd is oddly depicted as uncharacteristically cruel. Some of his antics towards the returning blind Billy character feel mean-spirited, and anything but funny. Lloyd and Harry aren’t bad people; they’re just extremely dumb and ignorant, and they get caught up in wild adventures. Once the gears of the plot get set into motion, though, it definitely feels like something clicked between the filmmakers, writers, and actors, and the remaining 90 minutes are full of non-stop hilarity, that while not perfect, do emulate what made the original so special.
Nostalgia will also bring this sequel up a few notches, as there are multiple callbacks to the original, whether it be in the form of a different take on a classic gag, playing a song used in the first film, or referencing something so incredibly obscure that only diehard fanatics of Dumb And Dumber will get the joke. Without spoiling it, even the structure of the story plays out like the original, but unlike recent comedy sequel disappointments like The Hangover Part II, Dumb And Dumber To manages to find a fresh approach.
It isn’t all nostalgia though, as the sequel introduces quite a few new characters that play some very entertaining roles. The hilarious Rob Riggle gets to play the part of the guy tasked with getting rid of Lloyd and Harry, while Kathleen Turner takes the talked about Fraida Felcher character from the original and is given a prominent role with some very funny scenes. There are also a few surprises that are probably best left for you to discover yourself.
With elements of nostalgia and originality combined, Dumb And Dumber To steamrolls through its two-hour runtime, surprisingly feeling as short as one hour. For a film that was widely feared to be a disaster, Dumb And Dumber To has defied many odds and is actually a worthy sequel to a borderline-perfect comedy. At the very least, the gap in quality between Dumb And Dumber and Dumb And Dumber To is much smaller than something like Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2. Are there mistakes along the way? Sure, but there’s also never a dull moment in the entire film, and that counts for a lot.
While far from perfect, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels haven't lost a step in this surprisingly worthy sequel to what is arguably one of the funniest films of the last 20 years.