Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Genre: Slapstick Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.

Release Date: December 16th, 1994 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly Actors: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Mike Starr, Karen Duffy, Teri Garr, Victoria Rowell, Charles Rocket

 


 

I

t’s immediately apparent that limo driver Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) isn’t very intelligent, though he’s capable of functioning in society enough to flirt with a pretty Austrian woman – before he arrives at his next stop, where redhead Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) opens the door. He’s instantly intoxicated by her beauty, while she’s petrified by his creepiness and poor chauffeuring skills. After regaling her with his ambitions of opening up a worm farm pet store, he drops her off to catch a plane to Aspen. Meanwhile, Lloyd’s best pal and roommate Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) works for Providence, Rhode Island’s “Mutt Cutts” dog grooming company – and is similarly unreliable when it comes to professionalism and answerability.

At the airport, Lloyd notices that Mary left her briefcase near the terminal (intentionally, as she’s dropping off a ransom payment) and rushes to retrieve it before goons Joe (Mike Starr, a perfectly contrasting, serious tough guy) and Shay (Karen Duffy) can pick up the money drop. Back at their apartment, commenting on the simultaneous losses of their jobs, Lloyd and Harry are forced to bail when they spy the thugs knocking at the door with guns brandished. Soon after, they’ve lost their remaining dough, they have no food, and pet parakeet Petey succumbs to a rare case of having his head fall off (actually, the bird is killed by Joe). With nothing to lose, Harry and Lloyd decide to head to Aspen to reunite Mary with her luggage – and idealistically allow Lloyd to woo the girl of his dreams.

In their misadventures of thwarting assassins, avoiding cops, picking up hitchhikers, administering CPR, playing with matches near gasoline, combating sexual assault, and reading a newspaper, Harry and Lloyd create an unforgettable duo of over-the-top mischief-makers. Though their antics border on insanity, there’s a touch of genuine cleverness in the escalating series of mistaken identities. The twosome are incorrectly perceived as professional mercenaries, having their actions taken for intentional murder or the sending of a vengeful message; even assumptions that idiotic comments are uttered on purpose to fool onlookers are recipes for chuckles. The use of deceptive framing for additional gimmicks, the inevitable love triangle, and hilariously exasperating conversations full of petty squabbling also have their moments. But the film isn’t immune to the problems of generally insincere villains and drawn-out climactic negotiations, which impart obtrusive impracticalities.

“Hey, you wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” Despite the somewhat easy attempts at humor – through urinating, farting, spitting, snorting, vomiting, explosive diarrhea, gurgling, chaotically squirting condiments, and all sorts of obnoxious noisemaking – “Dumb and Dumber” does possess an undeniable consistency in its delivery of jokes. The nonstop constitution naturally involves some stumbles, but laugh-out-loud moments work their way into the picture more often than not.

Elaborate dream sequences, the fantasy-like spending of millions of dollars, and a “Pretty Woman” makeover montage are just a few of the highlights in a production peppered with richly executed sequences, each accompanied by a pop-infused soundtrack. Perhaps the best visual gag arrives at the exclusive Snow Owl Benefit, to which the imbecilic partners attend in matching tangerine and periwinkle colored tuxedos, complete with top hats, ruffled shirts, cummerbunds, bowties, and canes (just one pair of many ludicrous costumes). The teaming and the formula are often copied but rarely matched, especially considering “Dumb and Dumber” was the directorial debut of the Farrelly Brothers, who found a career in the continued successes of similarly arranged comedies (involving dolts with hearts of gold), including “Kingpin,” “There’s Something About Mary,” and “Me, Myself & Irene.”

– Mike Massie

  • 9/10