Dumb & Dumber (1994)

reviewed by
Chad Polenz


                               DUMB AND DUMBER
                       A film review by Chad Polenz
                        Copyright 1997 Chad Polenz

*** (out of 4 = good) 1994, PG-13, 110 minutes [1 hour, 50 minutes] [comedy] starring: Jim Carrey (Lloyd Christmas), Jeff Daniels (Harry Dunn) Lauren Holly (Mary Swanson), produced by Charles B. Wessler, Brad Krevoy, Steve Stabler, written by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Bennett Yellin, directed by Peter Farrelly.

I've seen some pretty funny movies, but "Dumb And Dumber" is one of the funniest I've seen in a long time. This is not your typical comedy, it's almost like a live action cartoon, but it's funny because it's so off the wall and it works.

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are perfectly cast as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunn, a pair of bumbling idiots who struggle to survive and are oblivious to the world around them. Lloyd is a limo driver who falls in love when he drives the sassy Mary Swanson (Holly) to the airport, and notices that she left a briefcase in the terminal.

But since this is a commercial comedy there has to be a plotline of sorts, which involves animal kidnappers to whom Mary was dropping off a ransom. Of course Lloyd doesn't know this, and grabs the briefcase before the goons can pick it up. One thing leads to another and eventually our heroes find themselves being pursued across the country by two criminals, who they constantly outwit and don't even know it.

The road trip has always been a staple storyline for comedies, which comes into play here as the idiots travel from Providence, Rhode Island to Aspen, Colorado. But the plot is really just a backdrop, the film is about these crazy and hysterical jokes, such as Lloyd selling a dead parakeet to a blind child, urinating in empty beer bottles (you can just guess where that joke is going), and being so ridiculously stupid around normal people that it almost becomes a sociological commentary.

It's difficult to convey the level of stupidity of this film. Usually all-out idiocy like this doesn't work well, but these aren't recycled jokes, they are unlike anything I've seen before. This film made me laugh right up until the end.

Eventually the two make it to Aspen and open the briefcase, which contains a cool million in cash, and you can just imagine what these guys will buy with that much money. The balance between the plot and cause of jokes is handled quite well because it doesn't try to take itself too seriously, and it doesn't throw away the storylines that had been built up either.

"Dumb And Dumber" is not exactly the most intelligent comedy, but it isn't bad at all. Just when we think these idiots couldn't be any stupider they prove us wrong. Still, for all its idiocy I found myself laughing a lot, and I don't usually find such lowbrow humor to be all that funny. I'll bet we're all as stupid as Lloyd and Harry, we've just been conditioned by society not to show it.

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