Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dumb & Dumber

I have gotten into the habit of posting regular features on my main blog in other to keep the creative juices flowing. Structure and schedules work best for me. It sounded like good idea to plan Apocalypse Cinema in a similar way, so I have created a master list of movies to review.

Each one will be vaguely connected to the next through an actor or production member. Occasionally, there will be a string of films featuring the same actor or production member in a row. It took a while to make a varied list, but you would be surprised how the chain can evolve.

Today, we follow Jeff Daniels from his relatively minor sidekick role in Speed to a major turn as part of the Dumb and Dumber duo. Whether he is the dumb or dumber one, I leave for you to decide.

True confession--I am not much of a Jim Carrey fan. At least not a fan of his early work in bawdy, gross out humor. Back in his early days of fame, he was trying too hard to remain the hyper kinetic comedian he was on In Living Color. he was fine on the show for six minute stretches. He was not so great making his butt talk for an hour and a half. It too me until The Truman Show the guy could do anything worth seeing.

So I did not get into Dumb and Dumber. I laughed exactly twice. Once, whem Lloyd (Jim Carrey) blew the last bit of money he and Harry (Jeff Daniels) had on a foam cowboy hat, a box of pinwheels, and porno mags instead of groceries. The joke established the pair are stupid. I get it. But most of the jokes remaining are in the same vein. The second time I laughed was when the endangered owl was killed by the flying champagne cork. That was like a Three Stooges gag. You cannot help but laugh.

But the rest of the film was just so unamusing. It just did not have a heart. The two are heading cross country to return a briefcase full of money to a woman (Lauren Holly) Lloyd fell in love with when he drove her to the airport in his limo. We are not really supposed to care if he and Lloyd ever hook up. It is all about the comedic mess he and Harry’s stupidity get them into. But the slapstick, gross out humor fell flat for me. It was not enough to carry the story for me.

It turns out lloys and Harry stumbled onto an extortion plot which they inadvertently help break up. Unfortunately, they have also spent every dime of the money. Lloyd loses the girl too. She already has a fellow. Drat.

In spite of what I have said, I loathe to give Dumb and Dumber too bad a rating. Some critics called Carrey the next Jerry Lewis after watching the film. I recognize that is meant to be high praise, but I am not a Lewis fan, either. Dumb and Dumber is also considered a classic in the buddy film genre for which I can only name a couple interesting entries. So I am going to have to take a step back and observe how well the film was made and where it fits into the genre. With that in mind, Dumb and Dumber gets the job done.
Just not for me.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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