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'Dumber' sequel a Farrelly mixed bag.

The experience of sitting through "Dumb and Dumber To," which reunites Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels with directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly 20 years after their maiden voyage to the lower depths of imbecility, is like watching an aging MLB slugger wind down his career in the minor leagues. The stakes are far lower, he's slow off the blocks, his joints are creaky, and his batting average is a pale shadow of what it once was, but the swing and the stance still look the same, and you can't accuse him of not suiting up. Sporadically very funny, mostly very tedious, and sometimes truly vile, this 18-years-too-late sequel nonetheless exhibits a certain puerile purity of purpose, and should accrue healthy profits playing to the nostalgia of the dumb and the dumb at heart.

At the risk of applying rose-colored glasses to reconsider a film that aspired to be nothing more than a lobotomized Three Stooges routine, the original "Dumb and Dumber" possessed a certain je ne sais quoi that distinguished it from its fellow bottom-feeders. Featuring Carrey at the height of his rubbery powers, and a pair of first-time filmmakers who were clearly learning on the job, the combination produced a strange sort of fever-dream atmosphere that allowed audiences to laugh at things they knew they probably shouldn't. Though all involved are now old enough to know better, a bit of that anarchic spirit remains. Carrey and Daniels appear to be having more fun than most viewers will, with Daniels in particular relishing the opportunity to shake off the stern shackles of his role on "The Newsroom" and let the fart jokes fly.

The plot, such as it is, is kicked in motion when Harry (Daniels) enlists Lloyd (Carrey) to help him find a kidney donor. The two quickly discover Harry once sired a child with neighborhood slattern Fraida (a poorly served Kathleen Turner). Now in her 20s, Penny (Rachel Melvin) was adopted by famed scientist Dr. Pinchlow (Steve Tom), and her behavior leaves little doubt where the Farrellys come down in the nature-vs.-nurture debate.

Before Harry and Lloyd can intercept her, however, she's sent off to deliver a keynote speech at a TED-style conference in El Paso, while the good doctor's trophy wife (Laurie Holden) and her heavy (Rob Riggle) plot to kill him and make off with his riches. Like the original, most of "Dumb and Dumber To" takes place during a long road trip, as our heroes are pursued by a criminal conspiracy that they are utterly ill equipped to recognize.

With six screenwriters--a credit that initially reads as a meta joke--the film can't help but stumble upon a few choice lines ("It's all water under the fridge," "you're deaf as a bat!"). Technical credits are rough and ramshackle, but if you wandered into "Dumb and Dumber To" to study the cinematography, the joke is clearly on you.

Dumb and Dumber To

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels

CREDITS: A Universal release presented with Red Granite Pictures in association with New Line Cinema of a Conundrum Entertainment/ Charles B. Wessler, Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland production. PRODUCED BY Aziz, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, McFarland, Bradley Thomas, EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS, Marc S. Fischer, David Koplan, Brad Krevoy, Steven Stabler, Danny Dimbort, Christian Mercuri. DIRECTED BY Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. SCREENPLAY, Sean Anders, Mike Cerrone, Farrelly, Farrelly, John Morris, Bennett Yellin. CAMERA (COLOR). Matthew F. Leonetti: EDITOR, Steven Rasch; MUSIC, Empire of the Sun; PRODUCTION DESIGNER, Aaron Osborne; COSTUME DESIGNER, Karen Patch; SET DECORATOR, Jennifer M. Gentile; ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, J.B. Rogers; CASTING, Rick Montgomery. REVIEWED AT the Grove, Los Angeles, Nov. 12,2014. MPAA RATING: PG-13. RUNNING TIME: 109 MIN. CAST: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Turner, Rob Riggle, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom, Laurie hidden, Tembi Locke, Brady Bluhm

ANDREW BARKER

@barkerrant
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Title Annotation:Dumb and Dumber To
Author:Barker, Andrew
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Movie review
Date:Nov 18, 2014
Words:638
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