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‘Dumb And Dumber’

By Rita Kempley
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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An execrable catalogue of doody jokes, “Dumb and Dumber” is an abominable, abdominal comedy. Aside from its tastelessness and dawdling pace, the movie’s chief problem is the lackluster chemistry between leading lummoxes Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

Carrey, with a bowl haircut and a chipped tooth, brings a Jerry Lewisian look to the role of Lloyd, an ignoramus who persuades his slow-witted roommate, Harry (Daniels), to drive him to Aspen. More to be pitied than laughed at, the unemployed, nearly indigent friends set out for Colorado in Harry’s van. It’s been covered in fur and outfitted with a nose and tongue to look like a sheep dog.

Along the way, the two get into trouble with the local bullies, the law and a couple of thugs who have been tailing them because Lloyd and Harry unknowingly possess a briefcase full of ransom money. There’s a beauty socialite involved as well, but for all of that, the movie is primarily a yawningly paced series of bad jokes and worse acting. And its characters are no more complex than balloon animals.

In Lloyd’s case, it also happens that he’s not especially likable. To make a little extra cash for their trip, he sells Harry’s dead parakeet to the blind child next door. A mean-spirited scamp as well as a cheat, he makes Harry the butt of his lame pranks, which include feeding the oaf a bottle of laxative.

What the situation calls for, though, is not a butt, but a comic foil. Both actors are playing the same characters, and none of the supporting cast reacts to them as if they were the least bit peculiar. First-time director Peter Farrelly, who wrote this twaddle with his brother, Bob, and Bennett Yellin, hasn’t the sense to draw a contrast between the boobs and the normal world around them. Then again, maybe he was afraid to turn the lens away from the camera-hogging Carrey. Suffice to say the future doesn’t look bright for the Farrellys, who previously specialized in writing for sophisticated TV comics such as Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld.

Carrey was formerly one of Fox’s stars, and he made his reputation as a regular on “In Living Color,” which grew cruder as it ran out of, um, fuel. It never ran out of gas, which passed there as here for comedy.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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