Written by: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Bennett Yellin
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Karen Duffy, Mike Starr
The reception of humor evolves through different stages in life. What makes you laugh as a child does not necessarily signify it will have the same aspect in the future. Infants love peekaboo but rarely do you see anyone else in a different stage get equally as amused. Dumb and Dumber utilizes a specific style of comedy that reaches a specific demographic and if it finds you at the right time, it can be a hilarious romp. Unfortunately, as a grown adult, the jokes utilized just do not land.
Bumbling duo, Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) have aspirations to open up a pet store solely focused on ants, which they hope to open after building capital from other jobs. While Lloyd works as a driver, he takes Mary Swanson (Lauen Holly) to the airport where he sees her drop off a suitcase. He picks it up and decides to drive across the country to her destination along with Harry to deliver the piece of luggage to her. However, they have no idea they have involved themselves in a ransom situation.
Judging the plot of Dumb and Dumber has its complications because the breakdowns in logic and natural character progression intentionally get thrown out the window. Harry and Lloyd make illogical decisions, which becomes part of the comedic appeal this film tries to display. The plot has no real throughline, which puts all of the pressure on the bits working well to make up for it. As a younger kid, the comedy utilized in this film most likely had me in tears as I had fond memories for several moments. However, rewatching it as a grown adult for this specific review demonstrated the humor to be very fart-centered and to an immature degree I can no longer connect with.
There’s a scene where Lloyd puts an unhealthy amount of laxatives in Harry’s drink, which causes the latter head to a toilet later in the movie and have explosive defecation. The scene shows it happening as Harry holds onto the toilet as his body torpedoes waste into the bowl. The whole time I just sat there wondering if this was meant to be funny, but it shows the key to how enjoyment can be found in this feature. If farting and poop jokes get to you comedically then this film will hold up. If not, then it does not offer much else unfortunately.
As the title indicates, these two gentlemen are not very smart and the film continually proves this sentiment as they cannot grasp nuance in conversations. Even with the frustration this could cause, they remain likable because of their purity. They believe in a world where hard work can get them closer to their dreams. This level of hope made them believe they could possibly open up an ant-specific pet store and find success. It becomes difficult to hate these two because they just simply live in a different reality, including Harry getting his car turned into a dog for the job he took on with canines. That level of dedication to a probably low-paying job deserves some level of admiration.
The whole plot surrounding the briefcase simply shows how the duo have found themselves in a sticky situation where Mary needed to deliver a briefcase full of money to the kidnappers of her husband. Lloyd interfered by snatching the luggage and while the duo try to deliver it back to Mary, they now have the kidnappers trying to track them down. The humor of the ridiculous situation is displayed in the confusion these kidnappers express of who these two work for and their motives when they’re really two guys trying to do a nice thing for a woman Lloyd has quickly fallen in love with. It makes for several funny moments where the kidnappers interpret Lloyd and Harry’s actions as some large scheme rather than two dudes just trying to do a nice deed.
So many quotes and scenes have permeated popular culture over the years, such as “So you’re saying there’s a chance” or when Lloyd gags. With its release 1994, it has found a home in the hearts of many people, myself included for a period of time. However, the kid-centered poop humor dominates far too much of the story for it to be effective and it did not have a strong story to support it either. It comes down to whether one can vibe with the fart and poop jokes the film utilizes and at this age, it longer works.