There has been a lot of cinematic nostalgia for 1994 lately, with 20-year celebrations for such classics as Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. But 1994 was also the year of Dumb and Dumber, a classic of sorts in its own right. Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne were two oblivious nincompoops who have dreams of opening their own worm store, but end up taking a road-trip from Rhode Island to Colorado that lands them in the middle of a kidnapping and ransom scam. The visual gags were side-splitting—those tuxedos, nailing Lauren Holly in the face with a snowball, OUR PETS’ HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!—but there some something magically sweet about just how dumb and dumber the duo really was. “One of the brighter qualities of the works of the Farrelly brothers is how, even in the midst of profane unholiness and toilet humor, a sincere pathos often emerges,” writes EW‘s Jason Clark.
Twenty years later, Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) are practically right where we left them, as if they’d spent two decades in a near-catatonic state. Their hair is the same, their adventure—to locate Harry’s beautiful daughter (Rachel Melvin) in order to find a suitable kidney donor—is familiar, and generous helpings of the Farrelly brothers’ gross-out humor is spread throughout.
It’s a film that is hardly at the mercy of the critics—the first film wasn’t exactly a critical darling—but it’s still worth examining reviews to see if this is a movie you need to see today in theaters or one that can wait for home viewing.
Read more from EW’s review, as well as a roundup of other notable critics, below.
Jason Clark (Entertainment Weekly)
“D&D To visually checks off all of the first film’s hallmarks: the dog-groomer van, the upside-down breath spray moment, Petey the parakeet’s blind owner, the ”most annoying sound in the world.” The occasional clever sight gag proves the Farrellys are down but not quite out … But the material feels more desperate than funny.”
Ty Burr (Boston Globe)
“As usual, the brothers don’t toss away a single idea, and some of the misfires are vile … But the batting average is surprisingly high, not so much in belly laughs as in steady-state giggles prompted by expert sight gags and one-liners that display the heroes’ proud idiocy.”
Michael O’Sullivan (Washington Post) ▼
“With the persistence of an annoying brat hammering away on your front door, the film relentlessly, almost numbingly, focuses on the human body’s locus of excretory and sexual functioning.”
Betsy Sharkey (Los Angeles Times)
“One of the charms of the Dumb routine is the way it lets Carrey go wild. His comic streak is a mile wide, and the Farrellys use every inch of it. Whether he’s dousing a chili pepper burn with huge squirts of ketchup and mustard or honestly just standing, smiling or talking, Carrey is mind-blowing to watch.”
Wesley Morris (Grantland)
“Daniels gets to be funnier than he did in the first movie. But in the intervening decades, he has also become a stronger, more textured actor. So the hurt sticks to him, and he’s crazy enough to play it. The movie just isn’t funny enough to make you happy that he bothered.”
John DeFore (Hollywood Reporter)
“That boyfriend and his twin brother (both played by Rob Riggle) are responsible for some of the film’s biggest laughs, and Riggle’s juicing-up of rote plotlines is perhaps the only way in which the sequel outshines its predecessor.”
Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun Times)
“Of course actors can be funny in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. … It’s just that THESE characters don’t play as well two decades down the road. It’s a little like watching one of those old-timer games where former superstars gingerly move about the basketball court or the baseball field with the shortened fences.”
Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle) ▼
“Either out of nostalgia, or a sense of loyalty, or some epic misreading of the script, or a payday beyond the dreams of most mere mortals, Carrey and Daniels agreed to appear in this ghastly sequel, which is more than just not funny. King Lear isn’t funny. This is anti-funny, where every attempt at a joke is like a little rock thrown at your face.”
Claudia Puig (USA Today) ▼
“Daniels and Carrey give it their all, as does most of the aging cast. And there’s something oddly brave about that. And pathetic. Apparently, outrageously crassness knows no age limits. Sure, this nearly two-hour bathroom joke is aimed at 11-year-old boys, but that’s no excuse for these sloppy seconds.”
Manohla Dargis (New York Times)
“The Farrellys are still not much interested in film as a visual medium, and when Lloyd and Harry aren’t smacking each other or dropping their pants, you might as well be listening to a radio play. There’s a story, but it doesn’t matter, certainly not to the leads or the good-natured sidekicks like Kathleen Turner and Rob Riggle.”
Liam Lacey (Toronto Globe and Mail)
“There’s a new meanness in Dumb and Dumber To—nasty jokes about elderly Asians’ accents, insults about Kathleen Turner’s weight and a scene where Harry and Lloyd yell sexist taunts at a female lecturer—which is unpleasant, a kind of postmillennial snark that’s a bad fit.”
Dumb and Dumber To
Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 37
Rotten Tomatoes: 27 percent
Length: 109 minutes
Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Turner, Rob Riggle
Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly