“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. Twenty 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 Dumb 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, 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.
“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 Lloyd 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.