johnlink ranks DUMB & DUMBER (1994)

This movie was a big deal to me growing up. The Farrelly Brothers were from my hometown of Cumberland, RI and much of the movie was shot there. It was our big introduction to the world’s stage. Not that anyone outside of our little state even noticed that the movie took place there. I was already a big Jim Carrey fan thanks to ACE VENTURA when this came out (I was all of 12 when DUMB & DUMBER came out), so this was definitely a favorite for a number of years. It has been a long time since I went back to it, though, so I was curious to see how it held up.


I watched DUMB & DUMBER (1994) on 11.17.15. It was probably my fifteenth viewing of the film, but it was my first in probably fifteen years.

Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are best friends, and they are a little dumb. Both lose their jobs, but Lloyd has the left-behind briefcase of a girl he likes, Mary (Lauren Holly). They are in Rhode Island, but she is way out in Aspen. The boys decide to take a ride out there. DUMB & DUMBER, for most of the second act anyway, is a road trip movie.

Some of this stuff is dated. But most of it is still just really funny. There are still bits and gags that induce loud laughs. The Sea Bass scene. The dead bird scene. The dream sequence. The toilet bit. All great stuff.


At the heart of this movie’s success, though, is the fact that Harry and Lloyd are so likable. That isn’t to say that they are great people. Lloyd is a selfish and sometimes vindictive friend. Harry lacks ambition and has a temper. But their friendship feels so genuine. And, oddly, this is the movie when Jim Carrey proved he might be able to do some dramatic stuff. There are two or three bits he plays straight. The most notable being his mini-speech getting Harry to go to Colorado in the first place. They are small moments, but they show a bit of range and put this movie on a (slightly) higher pedestal than ACE VENTURA when it comes to character creation.

The Farrelly Brothers (Bobby goes uncredited but is widely known to have worked alongside Peter anyway) direct this in a straightforward fashion. This looks and feels like the 90s comedy it is in pace, scope, and the occasional unrealistic moment (like the explosion through the limo’s back window). They let their script speak for itself and mostly get out of the way. They do a nice job of making Rhode Island feel barren and Aspen feel like a paradise, but they don’t do much else to make a visual mark. And that’s fine. This isn’t a movie that needs it.

It’s easy to like this movie, but wouldn’t be surprised if people new to it didn’t find it particularly revelatory. It’s funny, sure, but it is also a product of its time. The script is smarter than many of the era, though, and the back-and-forth between our heroes elevates this above many of its time. But maybe I’m making excuses I don’t need to make. I’ll always have a special place for DUMB & DUMBER, but I won’t blame you if you don’t.




FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on November 18, 2015.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks DUMB & DUMBER (1994)”

  1. Good review John. Still funny all of these years. However, Farrelly’s are also definitely of a certain taste.

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