Really quick, go grab your old copy of Dumb and Dumber on DVD. It’s probably down in your basement, packed up with that copy of Joe Dirt you so fondly remember. Now, open up the DVD case and pull out the DVD. Grab a sledge hammer and smash it into pieces. Take a mortar and pestle and grind those DVD pieces up into a fine powder. When you’ve completed that task, mix the powder with a tablespoon of antifreeze and two tablespoons of toilet bowl cleaner. Once it has formed into a gluey slop, take a fork and slice open your wrist. With the other hand, pour the gooey mixture into the wound. While the wound is bubbling and festering, stick your entire arm into a fire and hold it there for an hour and 49 minutes, or until your flesh has melted into the ash.
Congratulations! Now you know what it feels like to watch Dumb and Dumber To.
The Farrelly Brothers sequel could not have come at a better time, assuming you were 17 years old when the original Dumb and Dumber came out and you laughed so hard during the movie that you banged your head on the seat in front of you and fell into a 20-year coma and you’ve only just woken up in time for the sequel. This movie is for you (and only you)!
With the exception of a few lines around Jim Carrey’s eyes and mouth, and the spare tire that Jeff Daniels wears around his waist in the movie, there’s very little to suggest that Dumb and Dumber To was made in 2014. It’s as though the Farrellys wrote the screenplay in 1995 with every intention of shooting it 19 years later without taking into consideration the fact that our senses of humor have evolved, or at least changed. It’s the exact same shtick — two hours of malapropisms, bad puns, and gross-out gags — that characterized the first film, only then it felt somewhat new and fresh. Now it feels like a bean-and-cheese burrito you found in the attic of your childhood home — a fossilized slab of tortilla wrapped around some hairy purple mold and covered in a layer of dust that’s so thick even the cobwebs are scared of it.
Dumb and Dumber To takes place 20 years after the original, but nothing about the characters have changed. Lloyd (Carrey) has been catatonic for two decades because he was playing a prank on Harry. When he finally snaps out of it, he learns that Harry (Daniels) needs a new kidney, which leads them on a chase to track down Harry’s long-lost daughter, purportedly conceived with Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner, oh Kathleen, no!) and given up for adoption. The adopted father, it turns out, is a wealthy millionaire whose wife (The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden) is attempting to bump off so she can collect the inheritance and spend the rest of her life sucking the toes of her lover, played by Rob Riggle. And yes, there is toe sucking, and yes, it is revolting.
There are quite a few gross-out gags in Dumb and Dumber To, but they’re not gross in a way that’s particularly funny. There’s a cat that gets into some meth crystals and swings from a chandelier, eats birds, and farts bird feathers; Lloyd at one point sticks his hand in a geriatric woman’s cooch; and both Lloyd and Harry essentially wipe their ass with their hands and feed each other with their poop-smeared phalanges.
But when it’s not stomach churning, it’s tedious, like hearing the same bad joke retold over and over and over again. Yes. We know! They’re dumb! It’s in the fucking title. But there’s also no real sweetness to Dumb and Dumber To, and where the Farrelly Brothers have been most successful over the years is when they merge the silly with the sweet, which is why two of their least successful films, Stuck On You and Outside Providence (which they wrote), are the only ones that still really hold up today.
The Farrellys and, to a large extent, Jim Carrey, were a product of their time, but you can’t expect to succeed if the comedy doesn’t evolve. Jim Carrey is still mugging for the camera, and the Farrellys are still trying to out-gross themselves, now under the limitations of a PG-13 rating. It doesn’t work anymore. We’ve moved on. They’re still stuck in 1994. Nostalgia only lasts long enough for Michael Ian Black to take three minutes to make fun of you on I Love the 90s. Once the moment of recognition passes, the novelty wears off. Beyond that, it’s straight-up annoying.