Peter & Bobby Farrelly, USA, 1994, 107 min.
CinemaSodomy is our recurring feature where we force each other to watch films that we never would have otherwise.
If films were measured by a Wheel of Intelligence, Dumb and Dumber is so stupid it would fly straight past Idiotland (ruled by the narrowminded Dictatorial Tyrant TC) and straight into Geniusville (population: LCD). Trust me, that’s a good thing. I think everyone has at one time met someone so inept that they’re not quite sure how the other has managed to survive (coughcoughTCcough). This is a film about two such beings, call them soulmates if you will, who have managed to find each other and eek out an existence together, however pathetic it may be. This film is their story.
Listen, the first thing you need to know is that this is a Farrelly Brothers movie. The directing, camera work, special effects, etc etc etc aren’t going to catch your attention. This isn’t one of those sissy foreign language films TC loves so much. The thing that will catch your eye is the vulgarity and the humor of the film. Quite simply, this is a big, blundering oaf of a comedy. It’s not witty. There is nothing subtle about it. What it is in actuality is laugh out loud awesomeness. I even caught TC chortling a few times before he remembered he’s supposed to hate this bourgeouis crap. – LCD
The history of film is rife with dynamic duos. Groucho and Harpo, Riggs and Murtaugh, Jay and Silent Bob, and now… Lloyd and Harry of Dumb & Dumber. These titular mongoloids undertake a cross-country journey to Aspen where Lloyd (Jim Carrey) will meet up with the woman he loves (Lauren Holly) and attempt to settle down and live the rest of their lives in happiness. Harry (Jeff Daniels) comes along for the ride because each is so inept that they couldn’t possibly survive on their own.
Like Odysseus before them, they encounter assorted roadblocks on their way and slowly but surely approach their goal. But the draw of the film is not in the story. In fact, the story is thrown in as an afterthought. It feels like the filmmakers thought of these characters, made a list of scenerios to put them in, and then figured out the story later as a way to connect them together. The main characters, and their eccentricities, are the driving force in the film.
It’s a gag film, and the gags are dumb and fast. For a while it works. The performances of our abnormal heroes are unique and sort-of charming. The style is clean and colorful. For the first reel, I was becoming pleasantly surprised. Had LCD forced me to watch a film that I would actually like?
No, of course not. After thirty minutes the charm of the film wears off and I was left watching stupid people do stupid things for another hour. What I liked about it at the beginning was not enough to extend it into a feature. The charm of the characters, the speed of the jokes, the solid production values were nice, but without a story, rounded characters, or insight, the film goes nowhere fast.
The first part is dumb but fun, but I should have taken the title to heart. What starts off dumb, just gets dumber. By the time the midway point rolled around I was done with the characters and didn’t care about the story. The film turns into an ugly mess. If I had to rewrite it, I would have Lloyd and Harry drive their shaggy dog truck over a cliff about twenty minutes in. Now that would have been a good film.