It's been a long, strange two-decade journey for "Dumb and Dumber To," the sequel to the Farrelly brothers' hit 1994 comedy starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as two numbskulls on a cross-country road trip.
Now the follow-up film has finally arrived, raising a question that would be obvious even to Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Daniels): Was it worth the wait? In a word, no, at least according to the great majority of movie critics. In many more words — well, read on.
The Times' Betsy Sharkey writes, "What felt fresh in Peter and Bobby Farrelly's original 'Dumb and Dumber," with the Carrey-Daniels dense duo channeling the Stooges and Jerry Lewis and something else entirely, feels strangely old-fashioned two decades later."
Sharkey adds that "The sequel sometimes feels like a series of gags ginned up by a gaggle of writers who are not always on the same page," and though it's clear the Farrellys had a bigger budget this time around, "more money doesn't make all that much difference in executing a fart joke."
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle calls "To" a "ghastly sequel, which is more than just not funny. 'King Lear' isn't funny. This is anti-funny, where every attempt at a joke is like a little rock thrown at your face." He goes on: "The script is weak, leaving Carrey with lots of time to fill by mugging. Watching him and Daniels here, you realize how much maturity is the enemy of this kind of comedy. Past a certain age — it's probably between 45 and 50 — the spectacle of someone being really, really dumb stops evoking an uncomplicated laugh."
Entertainment Weekly's Jason Clark says the sequel is "slapdash" and adds, "There are maybe six hearty laughs in the picture, which averages to about one per screenwriter (not a joke)." The material "feels more desperate than funny" as Carrey and Daniels "are forced to wring this middling material so hard they must have calluses."
USA Today's Claudia Puig says, "The intervening years have made [Lloyd and Harry] neither wiser nor funnier for this lame sequel. … In fact, they seem meaner, lewder and crasser. Whatever was lovable about them has dried up, their brainless boyishess having given way to nasty nattering." She adds, "Daniels and Carrey give it their all, as does most of the aging cast. And there's something oddly brave about that. And pathetic. Apparently, outrageously crassness knows no age limits."
Even New York magazine's David Edelstein, who prefaces his review by asserting that the original "Dumb and Dumber" is "a clasick," says that the sequel's "badness could give you an ulcer." For what it's worth, "It's not that they didn't try. This isn't some cynical piece of garbage like 'Another 48 Hrs.' Carrey and Daniels are in there working hard and almost getting their tricky rhythms back."
For Edelstein, all hope is not lost: "I'd still get in line for Dumber and Dumbest,'" he writes, and he's not entirely alone.
Among the scarce positive reviews, the Boston Globe's Ty Burr says, "As usual, the [Farrellys] don't toss away a single idea, and some of the misfires are vile … But the batting average is surprisingly high, not so much in belly laughs as in steady-state giggles prompted by expert sight gags and one-liners that display the heroes' proud idiocy."