He also hasn’t had a comedy hit since 2008’s “Yes Man.”
So it makes sense to re-team with Jeff Daniels and see what Harry and Lloyd are up to these days. Turns out nothing much has changed, and that’s a good thing for franchise devotees. Still, the reunion hits a few off-key notes, and the lack of a signature belly laugh leaves it wanting in comparison to the original
Harry Dunne (Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) get back together after an elaborate gag that probably sounded funnier on the page. Now, they must find Harry’s long-lost daughter to see if she’ll give her dad the kidney he needs to survive.
No, this isn’t a tear-jerking subplot, merely an excuse for the boys to hit the road again and showcase their infantile antics anew.
The new film lets the duo recapture their curious chemistry, and franchise drivers Bobby and Peter Farrelly load the vehicle with every brain-challenged gag they can muster. What could have soiled movie houses with the sour smell of desperation instead acts as intended. The sequel is a cheery nod to the past with one big toe in the present.
Said toe steps down on some politically incorrect gags involving some Asian characters, and it’s easy to see the misogyny buried in Harry and Lloyd’s behavior.
A reasonable interpretation says our heroes are mentally 9 years old, a time when girls carry cooties and manners are the furthest thing from our minds. “Lady doctors? That always cracks me up,” Carrey cries. “Date a woman my age? Gross!”
It still plays out as strained given the Farrelly brothers had 20 years to come up with fresh “Dumb and Dumber” adventures.
To say not every joke connects is to notice Carrey’s hair shape bears a striking resemblance to a soup bowl. Some sight gags stain our souls, like a sign announcing Barbara Hershey Highway. Others, like some inspired snot sight gags and a nursing home patient eager for a cheap feel, play better.
Anything goes, and the tone is light enough not to offend even when the material seems hell bent on doing just that. That’s the smartest way to keep the “Dumb and Dumber” franchise alive and well.
DID YOU KNOW: Jeff Daniels says he turned down several TV shows earlier in his career so he could stay in Michigan and raise his family. He feared the commitment a series required would keep him away too long from his brood.