2014-11-14

Dumb and Dumber To – Some Things Never Change

by Yo Snyder

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a
child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind
me.” (1 Corinthians 14:11) Pretty sure Harry and Lloyd never read that
particular passage, but then that’s assuming they can read at all. 20 years
have passed, and yet it seems like not a day has gone by for these two; which
is to say they’re as dumb, oblivious, and idiotic as ever. It almost stretches
credulity to a breaking point to believe these two haven’t grown up even a
little in the past 20 years, but then most aren’t going to Dumber and Dumber To hoping to see a more mature Harry and Lloyd. People
will go for the laughs and the antics and to see what sort of trouble these two
morons get obliviously into and out of, and there are plenty of amusing moments
of that. The big problem is that while Harry and Lloyd haven’t changed, not
much else has changed either.

There was a reason a Dumb
and Dumber
sequel wasn’t made for 20 years (and obviously we’re not counting
the so-called “prequel”); what more could be done? I know it seems like simple
thing to just take these two guys and put them in a new situation and see what
dumb stuff they do, but is that really necessary? We’ve seen what they do, and
I’m not convinced a different set of circumstances would reveal anything new.
Interestingly enough, Dumb and Dumber To
seems to acknowledge that because for the most part, this movie is pretty much
the same plot as the first movie. True, there’s the whole tracking down Harry’s
daughter angle, but that just sets up another way for Harry and Lloyd to get
caught up with “bad people want to kill the rich person in the family and get
the money for themselves” type situation that was the plot of the first movie.
While there aren’t too many direct callbacks to the first movie, which is a
mercy, there is a tired sense of familiarity; truly, nothing has changed here.

Which isn’t to say that doesn’t allow for some laughs. Overall
this movie is still funny and entertaining. It’s fun to see Jim Carrey be “Jim
Carrey” again and be reminded of why he was once such a dominant force in
entertainment. Much like the late Robin Williams, he is uniquely gifted. Plus
his chemistry with Jeff Daniels is as fun as ever. Still, sometimes more is just
more, and sometimes it’s just “this is the same gag 20 years later and it’s
still funny right?” Yeah, it may still be funny, but not as funny. As if to drive this point home, during the credits we see
scenes from the original film along with some of the scenes from this movie.
While it’s interesting to see how young Carrey and Daniels looked in the
original, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to
remind everyone of the far funnier movie right after watching this hollow second
effort. It just made me wish I had spent my time watching that one instead of
this new one, so why do that to your audience? An odd choice, that.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but
there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) I will
say this, whatever faults they may have, Harry and Lloyd are definitely
remarkable friends. Oh, they’re not perfect, but there’s never a doubt that
when push comes to shove, they’ll always be there for each other. It’s actually
nice to see that kind of selfless friendship represented on screen, especially
in a culture that’s often displaying more “what’s in it for me” kind of
relationships. I can’t help but think that more of us would like to have
someone we can just rely on, someone we can count on being there not matter
what. Someone who cares for us despite all of our flaws and shortcomings. While
it’s true that God promises to be that for us, and one really couldn’t ask for
a better, more reliable, more unselfish and forgiving friend than our Heavenly
Father, I’ll be first to admit it’s also nice to have a flesh and blood friend
like that. Granted, that’s a bit more likely with someone who exhibits some of
those same attributes due to God being an influence in their lives, which I
guess you could say puts God’s love at the core of true friendship. For me,
that true friend is my wife. I couldn’t ask for a better friend, which may be a
crucial element missing in most marriages these days. She’s the Harry to my
Lloyd…only much smarter…and prettier…and not a guy…and…that analogy didn’t
sound as good on paper as it did in my head, so let’s just pretend that didn’t
happen, ok?

And in the end, that may be the best approach to take with Dumb and Dumber To…umm…too; it might be
easier to just pretend it didn’t happen. Oh, it’s not a bad movie, and can be
funny and enjoyable in spurts, but it’s still a lesser version of the original,
and one that tries to recapture the charm and fun of the first by doing some of
the same things over again, and that just doesn’t work. It’s not as quotable,
and at times feels oddly resigned in a “we eventually had to do this, so better
late than never” sort of way. I didn’t dislike it, but it did make me wish I
was back watching the original (a sentiment that’s reinforced by that odd
decision to show clips and stills of the first movie during the credits). It’s
hard to believe that Harry and Llyod haven’t changed at all in twenty years,
and it’s hard to see any real need for this sequel to exist since nothing’s really
changed in all that time. If I wanted more of the same, I would just watch the
original.

Score: 4 of 7 –
Amusing and funny in parts, Dumb and
Dumber To
still ultimately falls short. It’s no more crude than the first,
which was a surprise, but it is just as crude as the first. Also, there’s an
unusual spat of language bunched in one scene at the end. While I was talking
and quoting the first movie long after I saw it, that’s probably not going to
happen here.