a critiQal film review Dumb & Dumber (1994)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Imbecilic best friends Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) stumble across a suitcase full of money left behind by Mary Swanson (Holly), who was on her way to the airport. The pair decide to go to Aspen, Colorado to return the money, unaware that it is connected to a kidnapping. As Harry and Lloyd - who has fallen in love with Mary - are pursued across the country by hired killers and police, they find both their friendship and their brains tested.

606 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 1s)

While perusing Vudu® for a movie to review with one of the grandkids, I stumbled across a film I’d forgotten completely about: Dumb & Dumber. Since Chloe hadn’t seen it yet, and it’s been years since I’d seen it, I decided to give it a shot.

Would she like the idiotic team-up of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels? Would I enjoy the film for more than just some of the classic lines (“We’ve got no food, we’ve got no jobs…OUR PETS’ HEADS ARE FALLING OFF”)? Or would the years expose this idiotic duo to be nothing more than…well, idiotic?

1994 was the year that broke Jim Carrey as a huge comedy star. With The Mask (1994) and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) coming out that year along with Dumb & Dumber, it’s was obvious he was the man to watch in comedies. He proves it once again with this film. Whether it’s his idiotic rambling nice guy shtick, his heart-on-his-sleeve dope, or his putty-like facial contortions, Jim Carrey is the big star of this film, easily dwarfing the much more well-known Jeff Daniels. He’s hilarious to watch, and makes a big splash in every scene he’s in.

Jeff Daniels, who was known to play more serious roles, seems to have fun as the other half of this oafish duo in Dumb & Dumber. While he’s outplayed by Jim Carrey, the two of them have a weird friendship chemistry that works well for the movie. While his hair may be the craziest thing about him, he’s still a decent part of this dynamic duo – a good Robin to Carrey’s Batman.

Lauren Holly, who at first seems a bit out of her league in a comedy, also manages to turn in a decent performance. While she’s the straight gal for comedian Carrey to play off of (like Courtney Cox was in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)), her performance (and those big eyes of hers) help give this zany story a bit of meaning. Instead of the film being just a series of comedy skits, she helps tie in an actual plot, and works well with Carrey and Daniels.

The story itself is a bit zany. The two oafs accidentally find themselves involved in a kidnapping plot, and driving from Rhode Island to Colorado to return Lauren Holly’s briefcase. While the plot isn’t crazy involved, it does open up the film to provide lots of hilarious vignettes of the two fools in all their glory. These mini skits are where the true comedy of the film lies, and what most viewers will keep laughing at time and again. Also, it’s these little vignettes that viewers will remember fondly long after the film ends.

All in all, Dumb & Dumber is still surprisingly funny, even after more than a decade since it’s release. The jokes have withstood the test of time, and watching a broken-toothed, bowl cut-sporting Jim Carrey act the fool with his pal Jeff Daniels is still hilarious. While viewers will still remember the hilarity of the vignettes, the movie still manages to be more than just a compilation of funny skits.

With Dumb & Dumber To (2014) available on DVD, this obviously wasn’t the only big screen adventure for this comedic duo (although reviews haven’t been as favorable for the sequel). Here’s hoping the critics are wrong, and the sequel (not to be confused with the inferior prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), which made the mistake of leaving Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels out) does a good job of living up to the original. Even if it doesn’t, at least we can still go back and have fun with Carrey and Daniels in the sometimes crude, definitely dumb original, Dumb & Dumber.

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