Dumb and Dumber To – Christian Movie Review
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The gross-out comedy kings, the Farrelly Brothers, are back with a sequel to Dumb and Dumber — 20 years after the film kick-started their directing careers in the early ’90s. Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) are back with a vengeance to do what they do best: cause general havoc wherever they go, push random people into foliage, and frustrate the plans of cartoonish villains like it’s 1994. After Lloyd and Harry are reunited after 20 years, Harry gets some shocking news: he fathered a daughter he never knew about, and his daughter was given up for adoption. Harry and Lloyd set off to find her. So was it worth the wait? The critics think not (28% on Rotten Tomatoes, last I checked). I’ll give my take on that in just a moment. Is it just as crude and envelope-pushing in its humor as the first movie? Absolutely, if not more so. For any parents out there, I’ll go over some of the content so you can make a more informed decision about viewing this movie.
Parental Guidance Issues at a Glance…
Sexual Content/Nudity: Male nudity is shown (though the frontal nudity is not real). A man engages in a sexual act with an elderly woman. Menstruation is used in a joke. An act of bestiality takes place. This film might also be seen by some viewers as very disrespectful toward women. Every major female character is portrayed as either a tramp, a blabbering idiot, or a wicked villain.
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Entertainment Value and Film Craft
So, all parental guidance issues aside, many viewers are wondering: is the movie as funny as the first one? It has its moments where some of the jokes — the clean ones, I might add — rose to the level of hilarity of the first movie. But this sequel, unfortunately for hardcore fans of Lloyd and Harry, falls flat in more of its jokes compared to the original Dumb and Dumber. The plot revels in the film’s dumbness to the point where it feels like the filmmakers are saying to the theater audience: “Look, we both know that this movie is not about plot. It’s about the insane but somehow always triumphant stupidity of Harry and Lloyd. Any plot you see is just window dressing to showcase our jokes.” I suspect it was done intentionally, as a way to embrace the total absurdity of the film, and even to spoof some of the really corny comedies made in the ’90s. I want to emphasize this: it was the clean jokes — the ones that took more subtle acting skill to pull off (and Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have more than enough acting talent to do this) — that got the most laughs in the theater. I’m not just pointing that out because I prefer clean comedy. The loudest belly laughs from the audience happened with the clean jokes. Even though the film falls flat compared to the original, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels do very well in their roles. They seem a little stiff in the first act, as if they were warming up, but once the movie gets going they reignite the comedic magic of their characters that became overnight sensations in 1994. And there were some great lines. Lloyd Christmas: “As Vince Lombardi once said: it’s never too late to quit!”
Positive Elements/Redemptive Value
All comedic grossness aside, it’s hard not to love certain elements of Harry and Lloyd’s dedication to each other as friends. They’re basically like family, and that brings an element of warmth to the film. The willingness, for example, of Harry to care for his catatonic friend for 20 years shows the undying loyalty and dedicated friendship that define Harry and Lloyd.
Although I’m a big fan of the supremely talented Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels — and though there were some serious feelings of nostalgia when I saw them on the big screen together again — I’m guessing many Christians will find the humor of this film not to their taste. Also, in my opinion, it felt like Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey’s amazing comedic talents were wasted on cheap shock-and-awe gross-out gags. I wish the writers had tried a different angle on some of it — perhaps tried less telegraphed, more subtle gags. Oh well. Maybe Dumb and Dumber Four, set to release in 2034 — according to a goofy post-credits scene — will be better.
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