Your tolerance for “Dumb and Dumber To” can likely be determined by how you answer the following question: Did you like the first film?
If you answered yes – and since the original was one of the top-grossing films of 1994, a lot of you did – you will enjoy this follow-up. It is more of the same so-dumb-you-can’t-help-but-laugh humor, and it reunites not only the two leads, but co-writers and co-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly.
This installment picks up 20 years after the first film, with dim-witted Harry (Jeff Daniels) in need of a kidney.
When he discovers that he has a long-lost daughter, he sets out to find her with good friend Lloyd (Jim Carrey) in tow.
It sets up another cross-country road trip for Harry and Lloyd that is much like the first film.
This could have easily been a film that relied on the good will of its fan base and coasted by as a cash grab. Instead, it is a comedy that is a little smarter than I expected, with some inspired gags and some stinkers as well.
Carrey and Daniels have good chemistry, which helps when some of the gags fall flat, but there are some nice nods to the first film as well as some inspired additions to the supporting cast.
It’s kind of fun to see Kathleen Turner play off her 1980s sexy screen vixen persona, while Rachel Melvin is really funny as the daughter – who turns out to be just as dim-witted as the two leads.
There are also a few cameos, one a nod to the original and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance by a recent Oscar winner.
It’s all pieced together by the Farrelly brothers, who have proven they can stage a comedic moment as well as anyone and aren’t afraid to push the buttons further than perhaps even the audience dares to see.
“Dumb and Dumber To” has plenty of spots that sputter, but there were enough moments where I laughed to outweigh the low points. Sure, I feel a little dumber for watching, but I had fun.
Fans of the original will likely have as much fun, perhaps more.
Also in theaters
While “Dumb and Dumber To” aims low and succeeds, this week’s other big release, “Interstellar,” (C) literally reaches for the stars – and comes up short.
Despite the best efforts of a talented cast and writer/director Christopher Nolan, this film just can’t overcome a script with black hole-size plot craters. It’s a frustrating near miss that ultimately left me unsatisfied.
Set in the near future, “Interstellar” begins with Earth in its final days.
With humanity facing extinction, former pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is recruited to join a team of explorers (including Anne Hathaway) to travel to a wormhole that could be the gateway to another universe mankind can inhabit.
The mission comes with a price for Cooper, who must leave behind his two children – including a daughter named Murph who shares his passion for the stars.
“Interstellar” has some strong points.
The film looks great, especially in IMAX, with some breathtaking sequences. It has that visual flare that has become a staple in Nolan’s films.
The cast is also stellar, with Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and John Lithgow joining Hathaway and McConaughey.
But for all the strengths, “Interstellar” can’t overcome a plot that gets progressively worse during the film’s nearly three-hour running time.
I realize science fiction requires a leap of faith, but by the final act the plot holes become too eye-rolling to ignore. It’s the kind of story that requires long speeches from characters to explain what is going on, mainly because it seems even Nolan – who co-wrote the screenplay – needs to figure out what is going on.
It’s clear that Nolan is aiming for a “2001”-level space epic. And while I admire the lofty goals, I think ultimately it takes itself too seriously and is unable to reach those lofty goals.
“Interstellar” isn’t a terrible film by any means, but it is proof that sometimes the most disappointing are the ones that can get that close to greatness – only to fall short.
“Interstellar” is rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.