Review: 'Dumb and Dumberer' is right
« on: Jun 13th, 2003, 11:51am »
Review: 'Dumb and Dumberer' is right
Prequel to 1994 hit a humorless mess
By Paul Clinton
Friday, June 13, 2003 Posted: 10:24 AM EDT (1424 GMT)
(CNN) -- With a title like "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd," you can't say you haven't been warned.
This movie lives down to its name. It's a prequel, not a sequel, and takes place in 1986, before the events of 1994's "Dumb and Dumber." That movie starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and was co-directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly. No sign of any of those talents this time.
The movie was directed by Troy Miller -- whose previous theatrical venture was 1998's awful "Jack Frost" -- and co-written by Robert Brenner, doing his first screenplay. The two apparently belong to the pasta school of filmmaking. They've taken hundreds of jokes in search of punchlines and thrown them at a wall like spaghetti in a vain effort to see what sticks. Unfortunately, 99 percent of the noodles end up on the floor.
"Dumb and Dumberer's" Harry is played by newcomer Derek Richardson and its Lloyd is played by Eric Christian Olsen. They're teenagers who meet at high school in a class for "special" students -- appropriate, since this is a very "special" movie. If you think it's funny, you may just be "special" too.
Eugene Levy is a conniving principal and Cheri Oteri his lunch lady accomplice in "Dumb and Dumberer."
The film's one -- and only -- saving grace is Richardson's and Olsen's uncanny resemblance to Carrey and Daniels from the first feature. Of course, the crude wigs help, but the two actors have also captured the attitudes, movements, and occasionally even the timing of the original stars. Olsen also lost 20 pounds in order to look more like a young Carrey.
On the other hand, Miller and Brenner have captured none of the Farrelly brothers' comedic magic.
Mercifully, most of the actors in this ill-fated endeavor are unknowns and their careers will recover. However, Eugene Levy, Cheri Oteri ("Saturday Night Live") and Mimi Rogers (who plays Harry's mother) are flirting with putting their careers on life support by appearing in this swill. Seeing them flail away in this mindless mess is akin to watching a train wreck -- albeit a wreck that lasts 82 long minutes before its merciful conclusion.
Levy plays the high school principal, who along with Oteri's lunch lady is planning on stealing $100,000 from a fund earmarked for children with "special needs." All they need are some "special" students to fill a fake class, and of course Harry and Lloyd are the star pupils.
Our mindless heroes recruit a bunch of other misfits, and before you can say "sophomoric humor" (an insult to sophomores) the class is engaging in one lame misadventure after another. Oteri is so over the top, and Levy is so mechanical, you'll be embarrassed for them. Someone should hold a TV telethon to raise money for these two so that they'll never have to work again -- unless they're in a movie by Christopher Guest.
Worse and worser
Enter the beautiful Jessica Matthews (Rachel Nichols), who works for the school paper. She alone suspects that the principal and the lunch lady are up to no good -- two words you'll mutter repeatedly while viewing this film. Jessica then uses unwitting nitwits Harry and Lloyd to get the inside dirt needed to expose their crime.
Despite this, uh, premise, the results are spectacularly unfunny.
You can hardly blame New Line Cinema for wanting to milk the cash cow that "Dumb and Dumber" created in theaters and video stores. But the first installment -- unlike this prequel -- felt truly original (in a stupid kind of way), and the talents of Carrey, Daniels and the Farrelly brothers created a amusing blend of idiotic slapstick humor.
Unfortunately, "D&D2" will have you cringing instead of laughing. You'll also feel your IQ dropping at least five points while watching it.
In all, "Dumb and Dumberer" isn't betterer. In fact, it's a whole lot less funnerer.
"Dumb and Dumberer" is rated PG-13. Nobody with an IQ over 13 will think it worthwhile.