“Dumb and Dumber To” can’t recapture the fresh goofiness of its predecessor but if there has been a comedy sequel that was significantly better than its original one doesn’t come to mind. This installment does have, however, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels along with directors/writers Peter and Bobby Farrelly and that team contributes plenty of fun, especially for fans who have waited for 20 years to laugh again at the juvenile (and in a few cases not so juvenile) hijinks even if many of the gags feel more like retreads than cutting edge.
But will you laugh and how much? More than half of the malapropisms, puns, and sight gags work and the plot is serviceable enough to keep us interested (though nearly 2 hours is still too long for almost any comedy). Of course it doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that means that half the jokes fall flat or elicit the kind of “ew” that Jimmy Fallon has made famous.
Harry (Daniels) desperately needs a kidney and he might have a donor in a beautiful young woman Penny (Rachel Melvin) who is Harry’s daughter from a years ago tryst with Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner). Lloyd (Carrey) convinces Harry to track her down mainly because he may be in love with the bombshell. The villains are Penny’s adopted mom (Laurie Holden) and her boyfriend (Rob Riggle). A wrinkle involves the supposedly world-changing contents of a small package that Harry and Lloyd need to deliver.
Nothing here is as creative or thought-provoking as the Farrelly brothers best work (“Stuck on You,” “Shallow Hal”) and no doubt much of the comedy is improvised on the spot–a skill Jim Carrey has honed for many years. Neither Carrey nor Daniels act like they are phoning it in and they can still manage a certain innocent charm to the tomfoolery.
It should be mentioned again, however, most parents wouldn’t want their pre-teens exposed to some of these gags even though much of the material is innuendo rather than graphic. Yes, “Dumb and Dumber To” relies on our memory of how good the original was but no one here embarrasses themselves – at least not involuntarily.
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity and some drug references.