Dumb and Dumber (1994)

(Second viewing, On Cable TV, May 2016) I didn’t have very good memories of Dumb & Dumber, and a revisit twenty-some years later only highlights why: I don’t react well to deliberately dumb humour, and this film has enough of it to fill a trilogy. I spent the film’s first half-hour in an increasing state of self-loathing, wondering why I was re-watching it and feeling my IQ dropping every minute. Eventually (specifically during the diner scene where a seasoned criminal unsuccessfully try to kill the protagonists), I reached an equilibrium of sorts, and the film finally started feeling funny. Not exceptionally funny, but funny enough to coast until the end. Jim Carrey does deliver a remarkable performance (alongside Ace Ventura and The Mask, it’s part of his astonishing 1994 breakout year), and seeing Jeff Bridges abase himself so low does have an interest of its own. The humour is dumb enough that it’s easy to forget that two skilled comedians (the Farrelly Brothers) wrote this stuff, but some of the film’s more outlandish moments (such as the fantasy sequences, or the living-large segment) do show some invention going beyond the dumb humour. I’m not going to claim that I was seduced by the results, but Dumb & Dumber does become good enough to escape the confines of its chosen dumb-jokes subgenre, and it’s that kind of success that highlights a better-than-average effort. This being said, I’m more than OK with the thought that I may not have to watch this again for another twenty years.

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