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‘Dumb And Dumber’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 16, 1994

 


Director:
Peter Farrelly
Cast:
Jim Carrey;
Jeff Daniels;
Lauren Holly
PG-13
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent


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In “Dumb and Dumber,” Jim Carrey plays dumb, Jeff Daniels plays dumber, and neither is the wiseacre for it. A project that wears its humor so blatantly on its sleeve (I refer you to the title) needs an invisible, savvy hand to orchestrate that goofery into an organic—and, of course, funny—story. It would help, too, if the characters were appealing.

Unfortunately, this comedy—to use the term loosely—makes the freshman mistake of assuming the movie itself should be stupid. An uneven collection of bodily function jokes, facial gyrations, sexual jibes and pedestrian slapstick, “Dumb and Dumber” appears to have been conceived by the leading lugheads themselves.

Imbeciles and down-and-out roommates, limo driver Carrey and pedigree-dog manicurist Daniels are saving their pennies to open a worm store. Their lives take a turn for the Really Dumb when Carrey escorts wealthy, beautiful, Aspen-bound Lauren Holly to the airport. When his client leaves a briefcase behind—intended as a ransom drop-off for kidnappers holding her husband—Carrey scoops it up and chases after her. But he’s too late. She’s gone. Unaware that two thugs are pursuing him, Carrey (who’s head over heels in love with Holly) persuades Daniels to drive him and the locked briefcase all the way from Providence, R.I, to Colorado.

Daniels, who looks as though he’s filling in for someone funnier, is just along for the ride. Basically, all hope for this movie—which segues from road flick to ski-resort caper—lives and dies with Carrey. He lacks nothing, in terms of raw shtick and energy level. But his efforts merely underscore the unamusingly crude scenario he’s working with. This is, after all, a movie whose idea of a great sight gag is Daniels’s butt-cleavage when he squats down in the countryside; or the petrified mucus running from both friends’ noses after a motorbike ride through the Aspen air. Now, it’s possible that a laxative prank could be made funny—but not here. When Daniels unwittingly chugs down a mugful of the stuff, the results are depicted in the kind of detail you’ll be sorry you paid money to see.

The low stuff keeps going and going. On the road, for instance, Carrey has to relieve himself, but Daniels refuses to stop. So Carrey uses an empty beer bottle, then another, and another. The final count, I believe, is five. A cop pulls them over, accuses them of carrying alcohol and—could you guess?—samples the evidence. The urine yuks don’t stop there, but I will.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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