I have had a lot of trouble writing this review. Not because I don't have strong feelings about this movie but because of my profound disappointment. After the raucous failure of the 2003 prequel, as well as the original cast and crew's reluctance to make a sequel, I had accepted that the original Dumb and Dumber, a classic in my mind, would have to do. But I did get my hopes up when the Farrelly brothers, Jim Carrey, and Jeff Daniels all came back on board to do another one. Since the plot of the original film was irrelevant and incidental, and all the important components were in place, there was no reason for this film not to be at least on par with the first, right?
Wrong. Dumb and Dumber To is an unmitigated disaster in so many ways. The original Dumb and Dumber is a really just a series of skits that come at you a-mile-a-minute, and almost all of them are hilarious. The sequel, on the other hand, attempts to deliver a similar quantity of jokes, but the vast majority of them fall flat, damned by lackadaisical editing, uninspired writing, and a bored, uninterested performance by Carrey. The sight gags are few and far between this time, with the humor mostly relying on the actors' ability to mug at the camera and to make uncomfortable, sometimes even cruel, quips at the expense of the other characters, particularly women. It is an anti-comedy that throws everything at the wall and, somehow, none of it sticks.
After Lloyd snaps out of a fake, twenty-year-long catatonia, he sets out to find a kidney donor for Harry in the form of his long-lost daughter, Penny (Rachel Melvin), whose mother is Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), alluded to but never seen in the original Dumb and Dumber. Penny's adopted mother, Adele (Laurie Holden), is in cahoots with her landscaper, Travis (Rob Riggle), to kill Adele's rich husband, Bernard (Steve Tom), in order to steal his inheritance as well as his billion-dollar invention. Harry and Lloyd get wrapped up in this plot when Travis has to travel with them to Penny to deliver the invention, but they inadvertently sabotage the plan, placing both themselves and Penny in danger.
Adele and Travis are the sort of couple who are always up to some kind of scheme in comedies like this, but Dumb and Dumber To makes a similar mistake as those less successful Marx brothers comedies by devoting too much time to the plot machinations and not enough to the antics of the leads. But at nearly two hours, the film makes room for both the inane plot as well as the jokes. Because these jokes are so consistently unfunny, the movie becomes a bloated mess that fails to redeem itself in any way.
The Farrelly brothers never know what to do with women in their movies, and they're at their worst here, alternately shaming women for not being thin, young and attractive, or exploiting women for being thin, young and attractive. Penny is fetishized by the camera, filmed either in ridiculously short skirts or in almost no clothing, which creates queasy discomfort, seeing as she is the daughter of one of the main characters. Poor Laurie Holden absolutely embarrasses herself when she is forced to indulge her foot fetish in a sequence that is cringe-worthy and entirely without humor.
But the most disappointing aspect of this movie for me is Carrey. For a brief time, he was the undisputed king of comedy, giving performances of such dynamic and exhausting physicality that you could not help but be in awe of his energy. In this movie, the majority of his jokes are in the form of one-liners, almost all of which land with a resounding thud because Carrey is not a particularly gifted verbal stylist. The only time he is funny when speaking is when he is shouting at the top of his lungs or jawing in a grotesque voice. He is famous for his rubbery face, but anything he does with that here is simply a retread of his performance in the first film. Approximately a third of the jokes in this movie are a rehash of identical ones from the original, but they lack their impact, spontaneity, and freshness. Only Daniels emerges from this movie unscathed, because he can still exercise a modicum of restraint in his character, providing the film with some genuine pathos, but mostly suffering alongside the off-putting antics of his co-star.
Dumb and Dumber To is bland, ill-conceived, and offensive, an abomination that should never have been resurrected, as well as yet another nail in the coffin of Carrey's depressing career. It needs to be put out of its misery.