A welcomed sequel to a somewhat beloved 90s comedy classic that doesn't live up to the original, misses the mark too often, offers little in terms of originality, yet is (at the very least) enjoyable with a few really big laughs to satisfy our nostalgic needs.
Three times during the film I laughed really hard. There were a few small laughs and I found myself smiling throughout most of the film, but Dumb and Dumber To ends up being more about nostalgia and revisiting two of our favorite knuckleheads more than it tries to give us any good reason that there even had to be a sequel in the first place.
The main problem I had with the movie was that Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey play their Harry and Lloyd a bit over-the-top to the point of being slight caricatures of the characters they once portrayed. Where the original Dumb and Dumber indeed showed them as complete morons, there was still a hint of humanity about the characters that made them that much more enjoyable and connectable, despite being completely ridiculous. In this sequel, many of the scenes come across similar to a series of Saturday Night Live sketches where both actors are doing their best to make the most out of only the lowest of low-brow hijinks.
I'm not even going to make a mention of the story, because that isn't really the reason the movie existed. The sole purpose was to reunite Carrey and Daniels in their iconic roles, yet the film doesn't really give them much new to due. Too often the film relies on hinting back at the jokes and events of the first film, while almost copying the structure of that story step-by-step. In most cases this would be fine, but the writer/director due of Peter and Bobby Farrelly seemed to think this time around that the audience didn't care what they were given, as long as it was just MORE of Harry and Lloyd.
While we do get more of the characters, I still felt as though the film was a bit watered down in comparison to other films of this ilk. This was one case where I feel that an upgrade to an R-rating would have benefited this film, allowing the creators to upstage the jokes of the original while staying true to the characters. Instead, I feel all we got was a bit of a cash grab where the directors told their actors to play their roles to the most ludicrous extent, while forgetting the often subtle nature that made the original so enjoyable.
The other major issue I had with this film was that many times I found myself thinking about a joke that could have been placed in a scene, but nothing actually happens on screen. An opportunity would present itself, and no joke would happen. And on the other hand, jokes would often fall flat or not pay off as much as I know they could have (given the pedigree of comedic talent behind the film), and often left me wishing that more time had been spent on the script and timing than on actually rolling the cameras with the stars in front of them.
All in all, the film DID keep me smiling the majority of the time, and there were a few instances where I laughed out loud - hard. Lloyd's ring tone is hilarious if you understand the context, as is a reaction scene involving a Stephen Hawking-like character. Kathleen Turner as a MUCH-aged Freda Felcher is also a good sport for allowing the actors and directors to make fun of her features for the sake of visual humor - much of which pays off in this case. I had just hoped that the majority of the other scenes that were flat were given more time to develop, or allowed more pre-production time to culminate a joke or two where you KNOW there could have been at least one had more time been spent on writing the screenplay.
Not worthy of the original, but fun in the context of seeing the actors play their characters again. A little too over-the-top with many jokes falling flat (or not presenting themselves at all when they were expected), but often leaving a smile on my face, if not mainly for the nostalgic feeling of seeing these guys twenty-years later. Could have been a little raunchier, and didn't have that "one scene" that really stood out (like the original's diarrhea scene).