Time makes ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ the dumbest sequel

Nathan Fisher

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Illustration by Sophie Cooper-Ellis.

After a long pre-holiday week, nothing seemed better than heading to the movie theater for some mindless entertainment. “Dumb and Dumber To” was certain to kill off a few brain cells but seemed like a worthy choice.  Sure, I was only one year old when the first “Dumb and Dumber” came out in 1994, but my middle school recollection of the mindless duo seemed like a perfect fit. Unfortunately and surprisingly, “Dumb and Dumber To” waited too long and was filled with unfunny jokes making the sequel just too dumb.

“Dumb and Dumber To” is set 20 years after the first installment, identical to the amount of time elapsed between films. We pick up with the characters when Harry (Jeff Daniels) comes to meet Lloyd (Jim Carrey) at a psychiatric clinic where Lloyd has been catatonic/immobile/unresponsive for the past two decades. Suddenly Lloyd pops out of his wheelchair and exclaims he has been faking his illness the whole time. The “boys” laugh at the joke and begin a road trip to find Harry’s newly discovered daughter, Penny (Rachel Melvin), so she can give Harry a kidney.

Lloyd creepily becomes enamored with Penny after seeing a photo of her. During their journey, Harry and Lloyd are entrusted with a billion-dollar invention that is supposed to change mankind. The two must take the invention to a KEN talk (supposed to be a funnier version of a TED talk). Oh, and also, Rob Riggle’s multiple characters are trying to kill the two nitwits. Just like the original movie, the nonsensical plot is second to the more prominent gags and stupid jokes.

Normally, I am a fan of lowbrow comedies. “Something About Mary,” Wedding Crashers” and “Anchorman” crack me up every time I watch them. I even laughed during the first “Dumb and Dumber.”  Unfortunately, “Dumb and Dumber To” was just not funny.

One major problem was the acting. The former master of physical comedy, Jim Carrey, has been having trouble connecting with audiences in his more recent films such as “Kick Ass 2” and “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” Audiences seem to be growing tired of Carrey’s particular brand of physical humor. The Farrelly Bros seemed to waste Carrey’s talents on bad jokes and merely focused on his stale bowl-cut hairstyle, feeding him stale jokes.

The dumber half fared no better. Jeff Daniels seemed out of place in his ratty, skin-tight t-shirt. I am hooked on Daniels’ more serious performance in “The Newsroom,” and seeing him reverting back to constantly exposing his butt crack or having flashbacks changing Carrey’s diaper in the psychiatric facility makes Daniels’ performance seem weak and such a waste of talent. The plethora of butt jokes made waiting 20 years for this slapstick comedy sequel disappointing.

The sequel to 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber” is the latest in a string of long-awaited sequels coming out of Hollywood. Last year “300: Rise of an Empire” came out seven years after the original. Other memorable sequels coming years after their predecessors include “Men in Black 3” (10 years), “Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (20 years) and “Tron: Legacy” (28 years). Soon “Independence Day 2” (20 years) and “Jurassic World” (14 years) will be entering the theaters. None of the sequels listed are as good as the originals, but they still made money. “Dumb and Dumber To” is no exception. Already, the unfunny film is tracking to close around 100 million dollars domestically and should be able to match the original’s 247 million dollar worldwide gross.

The passage of time was a big factor hindering the movie’ success. By waiting so many years to make a sequel, filmmakers lose their original audiences. Loyal fans have had years to move on from the humor that made the original movies memorable or have spent years becoming nostalgic over the original film. Sequels are an uphill battle to reconnect with audiences who fell in and out of love after so many years. Sure, I was drawn in by the nostalgia factor for “Dumb and Dumber To,” and even though I couldn’t help but chuckle a few times, my favorite part of the film was the ending credits of the highlights from the first film 20 years ago. Those six enjoyable minutes left me with over an hour and 40 minutes of wanting to leave the theater.

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