Screened Out – Dumb and Dumber To

By : Stephen Miller
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Jim Carey, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Turner, Rob Riggle, Rachel Melvin, Laurie Holden

Are you ready for another couple hours of dumb, two long decades after the first foray? If you buy a ticket for this creaky flashback, you know what to expect. It may not be as funny or fresh as the first one, but it is the funniest Farrelly film since the original. That’s not saying much; like the lead character’s IQs, our expectations are pretty low.

Through all their wrinkles and gray hair, Carey’s Lloyd Christmas and Daniels’ Harry Dunne certainly remind us of a dumber, simpler time. There are some solid, intermittent laughs here. Nowadays, this throwback gets lost among the Hangover films, most of Jonah Hill’s oeuvre, and almost every Will Farrell and Adam Sandler offering.

Lloyd and Harry are on another quest, this time for a replacement kidney for Harry. They hear of a possible daughter (Melvin) – one whom a genius scientist has adopted – and they go searching for her hoping she’ll donate.

Is it any surprise that the daughter is as dumb as her father? No, not really, and it’s also not a surprise that Lloyd and Harry get mixed up in an elaborate caper replete with a wicked stepmother (Holden).

Kathleen Turner is under-utilized.

Kathleen Turner is under-utilized.

That’s not where the clichés end. On top of that, this film never defines itself as better or different than the myriad of other stupid buddy comedies that have followed in its wake.

Obviously, though, Carey and Daniels are having a blast reprising their cult-classic heroes. And oftentimes, they hit comic gold. I admit I laughed hardest at the malapropisms. “She’s the fruit of your loom,” Lloyd expresses. “That’s all water under the fridge,” Harry says at one point, and Lloyd comments on what he calls “suburban legends.” Melvin herself wonders whether she should “go to India and volunteer at one of those Leprechaun colonies!”

This plot mirrored the first one in many ways. Familiar locations and minor characters keep popping up unexpectedly.

Of course, there are also infantile pranks and fart jokes…often combined. I could do with less of those. But then, again, it wouldn’t be a Farrelly film without them.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

This sequel also has some serious script problems. When assassins could kill the morons, they instead lecture. When things could be easily stolen, switched, hidden, or uncovered, the Farrelly brothers (who also wrote and directed the original) convolute things. Not that the Farrellys cares much about plot over telling a good poop joke. Unfortunately, their wild swings at humor only hit the mark one out of every three times.

The problem is that the actors and the material are all showing their age. It took six writers to prank, pratfall, and one-line this one to the screen. That necessarily means things are going to be scattershot. So, yes, this excavation is pretty dumb, but nowhere near as fresh and groundbreaking as the original.

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