Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, still stupid after all these years

by Mark Burger

After a 20-year hiatus that included an unnecessary prequel (2003’s Dumb and Dumberer) and a short-lived Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are up to their old lowbrow tricks again in Dumb and Dumber To, an intentional misspelled sequel to the 1994 comedy smash which also marked the directorial debut of sibling filmmakers Bobby and Peter Farrelly.

The Carrey/Daniels duo, so unlikely yet undeniably successful, is as zealously dim and dopey as before. Much like the first film, Dumb and Dumber To is above “” and below “” critical reproach. It’s juvenile, sophomoric, scatological, gynecological and politically incorrect, yet it delivers some big laughs and not a few groans. There’s something oddly endearing, innocent even, about how clueless bosom buddies Lloyd Christmas (a remarkably well-preserved Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) are. We know they’re stupid, they don’t “” and that’s the key.

Not unlike the original film, there’s a road trip and a murder scheme “” a plot, if you will, that involves Harry’s long-lost daughter “” but the storyline, which could have painlessly been shortened, is of course just an excuse for Daniels and Carrey to engage in their hi-jinx, which remain high-spirited throughout and are some times

quite inspired. Harry’s reunion with his estranged parents might be the film’s highlight “” he learns he’s adopted, for one thing “” but fans will certainly choose their own favorites.

The supporting cast includes a game Kathleen Turner, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Don Lake and Bill Murray, in an unrecognizable cameo (hint: look for the Hazmat suit). Rachel Melvin, in her first major screen role as Harry’s supposed offspring, is not only a looker but displays a knack for knockabout comedy.

When the first film came out, Carrey was just beginning his ascent to superstar status, some of his best work (The Truman Show, Man in the Moon) yet to come, while Daniels was already a respected stage and screen actor, although his prior comedic roles (The Purple Rose of Cairo, Something Wild) were scarcely as broad as the one in Dumb and Dumber. Compare and contrast Daniels’ performance here with his Emmy-winning performance on HBO’s “The Newsroom.” Twenty years on, he and Carrey have reverted to their inner goofballs and found the chemistry still there “” and still potent. !

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