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Dumb and Dumber To — film review
From the Financial Times of Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:06:27 GMT
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in 'Dumb and Dumber To'

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in 'Dumb and Dumber To'

All right, it’s too long. All right, there is barely a laugh in the last act: a slapstick science conference where our super-doofus heroes (Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels) seek the mislaid daughter of one and a kidney donor for the other and stumble on the science invention of the epoch and . . .  Well, you get it. Too many colliding subplots. But for more than an hour Dumb and Dumber To is the funniest thing you’re likely to see this side of Christmas or — if you survive it — the other side.

It takes intelligence to take stupidity for an effective laugh ride. Twenty years on, our two hero-friends are still mutually dependent outcasts: village idiots in a country with no village. In America, if it isn’t a town it’s a city, and if it isn’t either it’s probably a theme park looking for incorporation. Late on, we encounter a hamlet in which the “Barbara Hershey Highway” leads to the “Barbara Hershey Museum”. You have to be a 1970s movie nut to get the juice from that joke. But it’s still a good one.

Before that, Lloyd (Carrey) is retrieved from a care home after two decades of catatonia by a Harry (Daniels) needing company on an organ transplant quest. Lloyd still sports the world’s worst pageboy haircut. Harry has detonated his blond locks into an Advanced Boris Johnson. On the road they meet whisky-croaking, barrel-breasted Kathleen Turner (who might be one of the boys’ biological mum), as well as a parrot who says “The horror, the horror” after a heart-of-darkness scene worthy of Conrad involving cats and birds. A little later there is the year’s funniest cellphone imbroglio. Later still, a sequence I can’t describe — so won’t spoil — without dissolving into tears of recollective mirth.

It’s good to see them back. That’s “them” as in Carrey and Daniels and “them” as in writer-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly, whose best work in bad-taste comedies (D&D1, There’s Something About Mary) is still the benchmark. Everyone can be offended by something in the new film. But at times, too, there’s an art beyond provocation. I loved the characters who step out — for no discernible reason — from trompe l’oeil backgrounds, patina’d into a pillar or optically immured in a mural. And what filmmaker, before the Farrellys, ever thought of having a gazing-off-into-memory character copycatted by a friend who leans close to gaze in the same direction at the exact same incoming flashback?

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