Review: ‘Dumber, To’ sad and stale, but some laughs
Twenty years after they permanently lowered the bar on broad- and dumb-character comedies, Lloyd and Harry are back, “Dumb and Dumber” than ever in “Dumb and Dumber To.”
And within moments of the opening credits, you may find yourself overcome with sentimental warmth at seeing two 50-something actors as characters that the years have not made smarter. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels energetically reprise their popular roles, and the warmth follows. Kind of.
Those fart-joke farceurs, the Farrellys, re-team with their stars and an equally aged supporting cast for a film of occasional funny lines, random uproarious sight gags and bodily function jokes, all scented with a whiff of sad desperation. They’re “Stooges” in a post-“Hangover” world, and the staleness shows.
Harry visits a catatonic, bearded Lloyd in a rest home only to learn he’s been the butt of Lloyd’s 20-year-long practical joke. Then, they’re off, doubling up on a Schwinn to visit Harry’s estranged Asian parents and then the aged, bloated floozy (Kathleen Turner, enduring jokes about her current appearance) who supposedly had Harry’s baby and gave her up for adoption.
Harry needs a kidney donor. So, the 50-something “10-year-olds” motor to Maryland and then El Paso in search of the dopey bombshell (Rachel Melvin, out of her depth) who might be his donor-daughter.
The Farrellys, who peaked with the raunchy, rude and yet romantic “There’s Something About Mary” in 1998, hurl hit-or-miss sight gags and throw-away lines at us.
The road trips, with Rob Riggle playing a malevolent schemer trying to keep them from reaching Harry’s daughter, have an epic fart joke, but too many lame zingers to get them or us all the way across the country.
Carrey’s recent appearance on “Saturday Night Live” reminded us of his gift for mimicry, and his post-Farrelly films have shown ambition and flashes of brilliance. Daniels has been reliably funny in a range of comedies over the decades. They can still bring it.
Truth be told, I was never a fan of the first “Dumber,” but the stars made it endurable and convincingly stupid. Here, they’re sometimes funny, and sometimes just forlorn. They’re better than this, no matter how good they are at hiding the fact that they know it.
Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy News Service.