You know what you’re getting with the sequel to Dumb and Dumber—pretty much more of the same. In fact, it’s impressive how Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels effortlessly shifted back into Lloyd and Harry after twenty years. But, was it a sequel that needed to be made?
Probably not. Dumb and Dumber To is definitely a fun film and has a great load of laughs, but ultimately, it’s more of the same, only twenty years later. And even when the film has a wisp of a story, it overthinks the formula. Who’d have ever thought “overthinking” would be an accusation leveled at Dumb and Dumber To?
Just as twenty years have passed for the audience, twenty years have also passed for Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey). The opening gag, which explains why it’s taken so long to get a sequel together, is hilarious and well-documented in the trailers. From there, Harry reveals that he needs a kidney transplant, but then learns that he’s a father thanks to Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner). So, the search is on for Harry’s daughter, Penny (Rachel Melvin). The boys learn that Penny was adopted by a wealthy, reclusive scientist, Dr. Pinchelow (Steve Tom), and that Penny is going to a science conference in his stead because he’s ill. Why is he ill? Because his gold-digging wife Adele (Laurie Holden) is working with her lover (Rob Riggle) to poison the good doctor. Pinchelow sends Harry and Lloyd after Penny with his latest invention, which is worth billions. Lloyd is along for the ride once he lays eyes on a picture of Penny and is instantly smitten with her. Adele sets out to stop them so she can claim the prize.
If you’re wondering, yes, it is essentially the exact same plot as the first film with a few minor tweaks here and there. The film also feels like an artifact of the 90s in that it’s not as clever as modern day comedies. This feels like it was made shortly after Dumb and Dumber hit theaters and was just lost in the archives somewhere, which can be seen as good or bad depending on how you feel about the original. The harebrained plot rattles on to the end, but it feels like the actors are making it up as they go along. There are some great gags, but ultimately, it’s a faded facsimile of the first film. Also, I’m never totally comfortable laughing at movies where the main characters are this epically stupid. It makes me feel like I’m being made to laugh at the mentally challenged, which isn’t cool. However, I did laugh quite a bit.
Carrey and Daniels reassume their roles with no issues and it’s almost as though no time has passed. They are the star attractions and fans of the first film won’t feel cheated in their performances at all. Riggle is his usual hilarious self, but he’s also doing yeoman work here, carrying a large expository load in some scenes. Melvin is cute as Penny, but her character is even dimmer than Harry and Lloyd and her stupidity got old after a while. Holden is horribly miscast here and you have to wonder why the Farrelly Brothers didn’t get someone like Tina Fey or Amy Poehler to stand toe-to-toe with Carrey and Daniels.
Overall, I laughed at Dumb and Dumber To, but it feels like more of the same shtick. The money-swindling plot and cross-country trek feel lifted straight from the original film and it would have been nice to have gotten something a little more novel after such a long wait.