Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, and for language Running Time: 83 min.
Cast: Eric Christian Olsen, Derek Richardson, Rachel Nichols, Eugene Levy, Cheri Oteri, Mimi Rogers, Shia LaBeouf
Director: Troy Miller
Screenplay: Robert Brenner
I never thought I'd say it. It seems it takes some intelligence after all to make a good dumb comedy, and as dumb as I thought Dumb & Dumber was, perhaps I underestimated just how smart it might have been. Well, maybe not smart, but at least there was some attempt to be clever and funny, instead of just trying for the lowest and basest of jokes because we expect them. Dumb and Dumberer is little more than am attempt to cash in, but the producers of this prequel will be in for a surprise. As popular as the first film was, even the staunchest of fans weren't clamoring for another chapter, or if they were, they certainly would never want that one isn't by the Farrellys and doesn't star Jim Carrey.
This one takes us back to 1986, where Harry and Lloyd meet in high school. Their scheming principal has been skimming funds for years, and sees a golden opportunity for more by trying to gain funding for having a "special needs" class, and of course, Harry and Lloyd are the prime candidates to be in it. They aren't just in it, but they get to choose the rest of the class, most of whom readily take them up on the offer in order to get out of homework. However, the crackerjack reporter for the school paper sniffs out a scoop, and all she needs is the evidence, so she needs Harry and Lloyd on her side to prove it.
Before my rant, I would like to commend the two no-name leads, Olsen and Richardson, for the good job they did in mimicking the look and mannerisms of the original stars. I truly hope neither actor is branded for being in such a critically and commercially panned film, because if it weren't for them, this would have been far worse than it already is, if you can imagine that. They deserved much better material, but if they really deserved anything, it's not to be in this movie at all.
Now the bad news. Dumb and Dumberer tries so hard to be like the first film in every possible way, yet it neglects being the one element that people liked about it: laughs. It seems silly to even mention it, but I suppose it must be said, because the creators of this prequel appear to have no concept why people like the original at all. It wasn't for the characters certainly, and it wasn't for the fact they were stupid. It wasn't their looks or their demeanor. It wasn't for the story. People only liked the first film because it made them laugh out loud, laugh long, and laugh repeatedly. If you can't do that, no one gives a crap, regardless of whether or not the two main characters are the same in both films.
Dumb and Dumberer has an amiability and about one or two decent laughs, but falls short of anything resembling the kooky antics of the Farrelly Brothers brand of humor. The jokes are obvious, fizzling far more than they have a right to, and the plot is so much of a throwaway, I wonder why they attempted one at all. Don't even bother watching this film, no matter how much you loved the first. You'll still laugh more watching Dumb and Dumber for the 10th time than watching Dumb and Dumberer once.
© 2003 Vince Leo