Dumb comedy? Smart comedy?
It doesn’t matter what label you stick on it. As long as a movie makes you laugh, its IQ is irrelevant.
1994’s “Dumb and Dumber” made me laugh. Still does.
Now the Farrelly brothers (Bobby and Peter) have given us a sequel with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprising their roles as chip-toothed Lloyd Christmas and disheveled dog groomer Harry Dunne.
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I hardly laughed at all.
Oh, there are moments that are so appallingly crude that they wring a shocked guffaw out of you.
We’re talking fart jokes. Masturbation jokes. Menstruation jokes. Sex-with-old-ladies jokes. Catheter jokes.
But the yuks are few and very far between.
Twenty years after the misadventures of the original film, the affable morons set out once again on a pratfall-packed road trip.
They’re in search of Harry’s daughter, sired in a long-ago encounter with the local floozy, Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner, who apparently is game for anything).
Harry must find the young woman because he needs a kidney transplant and his parents aren’t a genetic match. (The fact that they are Chinese should have been a giveaway.)
The daughter, Penny (Parker Posey look-alike Rachel Melvin), has been sent by her adoptive father, a famous scientist/inventor, to represent him at a conference in El Paso, Texas (“the town named after the bean dip,” Harry marvels).
The boys head off in pursuit in a hearse, the puppy van from the first film and a Zamboni machine, among other conveyances.
Meanwhile, the scientist’s scheming second wife (Laurie Holden of TV’s “The Walking Dead”) is conspiring with the Beatle-haired gardener and his black-ops assassin brother (both played by Kansas City’s Rob Riggle) to murder the old man and make off with his fortune.
Every now and then the Farrellys (“There’s Something About Mary,” “The Three Stooges”) and their players hit the sweet spot — as with a gag involving a speeding train that’s worthy of a Buster Keaton silent comedy.
But, of course, every moment like that is offset by something utterly puerile, like a stop in a town where all the attractions honor a particular actress. The Barbara Hershey Highway?
Carrey and Daniels have said that making this film was even more fun than working on the original — proof of the maxim that a happy movie set usually results in a bad movie.
You can read more of Robert W. Butler’s reviews at butlerscinemascene.com.
‘DUMB AND DUMBER TO’
ROB RIGGLE IS DUMBFOUNDED
KC’s own Rob Riggle is making the interview rounds promoting “Dumb and Dumber To,” in which he plays the villain (of course). Actually, twin villains out to rip off dumb Lloyd and Harry (Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels). Here’s what we’ve learned:
▪ He loves the first movie and was thrilled to be cast in the sequel. On “Late Night With Seth Meyers” he said: “They call and say, ‘Hey they want you in the movie.’ And I go, ‘I’m in.’ And they go, ‘We’ll send you the script.’ And I’m like, ‘Go ahead, but I’m in.’”
▪ His first day on set was a scene where he sat in the backseat behind Carrey and Daniels. “I was having a surreal moment,” he told DigitalTrends.com. “I don’t know. I had to remind myself to focus on what I need to do. I just wanted to call all my friends and tell them, ‘You won’t believe what I’m doing right now.’”
▪ In one scene he ends up drenched in a swimming pool. It was November in Atlanta. “I asked them if the pool was heated, and they said yes,” he told CraveOnline. “It wasn’t. And when I jumped in, it was freezing. It was so cold, I couldn’t even say my lines. The scream was real.”
▪ DigitalTrends points out that Riggle has played a drug-dealing gym teacher in “21 Jump Street” and a Taser-happy cop in “The Hangover.” “It’s a speed I can do,” said the ex-Marine. “It’s believable. And I don’t know what that says about me. It makes me very sad, sometimes!”