VOD film review: Dumb and Dumber To
Clarisse Loughrey | On 23, Apr 2015
Directors: Bobby & Peter Farrelly
Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden
Watch Dumb and Dumber To online in the UK: Amazon Prime / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
20 years is a long time to be parted from dear friends. For as much as we may trying to resist it, things change. People change. Yet that’s not something the Farrelly Brothers would ever be keen to admit, not when it comes to some of their nearest and dearest creations: Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas, as lovingly brought to life by Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey in the 1994 classic Dumb and Dumber. Surely, those two could never be anything but the loveable dimwits we’ve grown to adore?
That would certainly explain their sequels’ almost brutally unceremonious opening, popping out a quick opening gag before slamming the audience’s head into the toilet bowl of narrative exposition; that kind of ‘let’s get this over and done with’ quality that always seems to forewarn sloppy second outings. Even with such a beloved property, denying an audience the space and patience for re-acquaintance can honestly be a little disconcerting; like a diver getting pulled too quickly to the surface, the brashness of Dumber and Dumber To’s opening scenes is equivalent to a kind of cinematic bends.
Even more disconcerting is when you find out that this isn’t at all the Harry and Lloyd you remember; this is that one friend who went on Gap Year and came back an asshole. The original Dumb and Dumber was never exactly an exercise in sensitivity – they still taped the head back on a dead parakeet and sold it to a blind kid – but it was always a movie that seemed to carefully walk that line between ignorant buffoonery and genuine offensiveness. Sure, they lost their minds over the great female booties of America, but it was always with that kind of boyish excitement of perpetual adolescence; and the audience was always welcome to snigger at grown men acting like they just hit puberty.
Yet here, that enthusiasm has morphed into outright creepiness: where once they might have nervously sniggered from a distance, they now heckle a woman onstage at an esteemed technology conference with the trusty gem of all lazy misogynists: “Show us yer tits!” It’s gross. Even grosser when you consider that most of their targets of lust are half their age. Worse still, this film seems to have no problem with it. We’re not even expected to laugh at their idiotic treatment of women because it’s more often than not the women themselves which are targeted by the movie’s humour. This movie actually expects us to laugh at jokes about stretch marks and dusty vaginas without ever even pausing to acknowledge the irony of those words coming from men who spend their time chasing women young enough to be their daughters. Then there’s the treatment of Harry’s adoptive Asian parents, which dives into territory disturbingly uncomfortable for a movie released only last year.
However, the saddest part of it all might actually be that this movie isn’t completely charmless; at least its lead actors have yet to forget what made their characters so likeable. It’s in the simplest of moments, in gags we’ve seen time and time again, yet seeing them performed by two actors still on top of their comedic game, the energy bouncing effortlessly between them, is to see those same gags performed in a way that makes them feels as fresh as they did back in 1994. So maybe it’s not that people inevitably change, but that they forget. In that case, the Farrelly Brothers have long forgotten what made their original movie so timeless.
Dumb and Dumber To is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.