Blu-ray Review: Dumb and Dumber To

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After 20 years, directing team Bobby and Peter Farrelly are back with a sequel to the 1994 comedy smash, Dumb and Dumber. The new one, Dumb and Dumber To [sic] is a surprisingly mild buddy comedy, but contains enough snicker-worthy moments (and a few belly laughs) to please longtime fans. A Farrelly Brothers-free prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, arrived nearly ten years after the original. The title was cute, but the movie offered little humor, especially without the chemistry of stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Both are back for To and gamely dumb-down for a painless 109-minute romp.

One of the film’s best gag is the way in which the Farrellys explain the 20 year time gap between outings. Lloyd (Carrey) has been catatonic in a mental institution after his failed relationship with Mary Swanson (played by Lauren Holly in the original film). If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what’s coming. If you haven’t, suffice it to say that Lloyd’s heartbreak might not have been as serious as he led Harry (Daniels) to believe. Speaking of the trailers and TV spots, ubiquitous prior to (and during) the film’s theatrical run in November 2014, they did a good job of spoiling some of the bigger laughs. There’s plenty more (including some bits that were too rude for green-band trailers), but consider yourself warned.

Dumb and Dumber To 2 (380x253).jpgTurns out Harry and former hottie Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner, a great sport for taking a role in which her matronly appearance is pretty much the entire joke) had a child over 20 years ago. Due to a bad kidney, Harry needs a donor and believes the daughter he never knew he had would be the perfect match. The big problem? Fraida gave her up for adoption and only has a vague notion of her current whereabouts. Reunited with Lloyd, who is immediately sprung for the beautiful daughter, Harry sets out to find his daughter. Her name is Penny (Rachel Melvin) and her adoptive father Dr. Pinchelow (Steve Tom) is presenting his important scientific research at a big convention in Texas.

Dumb and Dumber To 3 (380x242).jpgThere’s actually a lot more plot in Dumb and Dumber To than there needed to be. It’s Harry and Lloyd’s antics that we’re interested in, after all. There’s a stock subplot involving Penny’s adoptive mother, Mrs. Pinchelow (Laurie Holden), trying to off her much older husband for monetary gain. Making Penny intellectually below par, just like dad, was a smart move. Melvin, best known as Chelsea Brady on Days of Our Lives, is up to the challenge of playing dumb. Rob Riggle is unfortunately stranded in a mostly reactionary role as Mrs. Pinchelow’s accomplice. It’s hard to say that Dumb and Dumber To really lives up to the original. But honestly it could’ve been an embarrassment for Carrey and Daniels (and the Farrellys) to return to this particular well after so many years. To their credit, even though it’s no classic, it’s not bad.

Universal’s Blu-ray presentation is totally acceptable, with Matthew F. Leonetti’s workmanlike cinematography looking agreeably sharp. Nothing like high definition clarity to better scrutinize the 20 years of aging apparent in stars Carrey and Daniels’ faces. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is also exactly what one expects of a modern studio release. The film is scored with rock songs (including two new ones by Australian duo Empire of the Sun) and they sound robustly energetic in this punchy surround mix.

Dumb and Dumber To 4 (380x277).jpgExtra features include a surprisingly good multi-part “making of,” called “That’s Awesome! The Story of Dumb and Dumber To which runs about 45 minutes. That’s found on both the Blu-ray and the standard DVD (included as part of the Blu-ray Combo Pack). Exclusive to Blu-ray are: deleted and alternate scenes (featuring an alternate opening), a gag reel, and the featurette “What’s So Smart About Dumb and Dumber To?”

It took 20 years for Bobby and Peter Farrelly to finally get Harry and Lloyd back together. Dumb and Dumber To probably won’t have the replay value of the first film, but when looked at simply as a long overdue encore, it’s an entertaining diversion.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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