Critics Say ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Fails to Live Up to the Original

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Twenty years after the release of the original, the Farrelly brothers’ Dumb and Dumber sequel finally debuts in theaters today. Currently earning an underwhelming 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, Dumb and Dumber To is raking in the kind of reviews one might expect from a sequel with leads that are now 20 years older: It’s good for callbacks, cheap laughs, and “crotch-centric” humor, but don’t expect it to surpass the appeal of the 1994 film. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels both get points from critics for embodying their silly ‘90s roles and carrying the film and Rob Riggle gets some love for his supporting double role, but the film as a whole – particularly the Farrelly brothers’ taste for misogynistic and racist humor – isn’t getting the same level of praise. Here’s what some of the critics are saying:

On the Farrelly brothers:

“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.”

- The New York Times

“The picture lasts an hour and 50 minutes but it feels like three days. It is annoying and exhausting, and I honestly couldn’t tell you whether or not this is part of the Farrellys’ twisted design. During one ceaseless sequence I actually muttered: ‘Ugh, I can’t take any more!’ and my colleague seated beside me chuckled in agreement. We were laughing, but by God did we want to get out of there.”

- The Guardian

“I just want to laugh, and Dumb and Dumber To rarely coaxed me to that state of obscene bliss. Like the Farrellys’ recent botched attempt to revive the pummeling shenanigans of The Three Stooges, this movie breaks not only the canons of etiquette but of how to make people laugh. The usual methods are wit and surprise; the brothers go for aimless, charmless shock. That may make them subversive of a high order. Or possibly filmmakers who, 20 years on, have run out of funny.”

- Time

On laughs:

“There are maybe six hearty laughs in the picture, which averages to about one per screenwriter (not a joke).”

- Entertainment Weekly

“When the gags a movie is most confident in — the ones it uses three or four times, as if they were sure things — involve pushing unsuspecting pedestrians into a bush or riffing on ‘Bond, James Bond,’ something’s wrong in the yuk factory.”

- The Hollywood Reporter

“There are gags that work, that pay off in a big way, and gags that fall flat, derailing entire sequences. Because the world around them is so absurd, the film’s attempts at creating some genuine heart for Harry and Lloyd doesn’t really work. It’s all played way too silly for any of it to count.”

- HitFix

“This wearying, nearly two-hour marathon of crotch-centric humor opens with a sight gag about yanking a stubborn catheter out of a man’s urethra. And yet there is much more to come. What follows are literally dozens of references to orifices and sphincters and the things that can come out of (or go into) them. The high point — and I don’t mean that sardonically, it’s actually kind of funny — comes with a scene featuring Jim Carrey, reprising his role as the moron Lloyd Christmas, with his hand buried up to the wrist inside the pelvic cavity of an elderly woman in a nursing home.”

- Washington Post

“The desperate randomness of the jokes dissipates, the farce takes hold, and the plot twists about three times. I wish I could say it was all worth it. Dumber To is as much beholden to Billy Wilder and James Thurber and John Waters as are the Farrellys’ other movies, but the prevailing cheapness keeps things much too close to the slovenliness of some Kevin Smith comedies.”

- Grantland

“If Dumb and Dumber To were a live comedian, he’d have said, ‘Is this an audience or an oil painting?’ He’d have left the stage in tears. He’d have gone to work in a leprechaun colony.”

Vulture

On misogynistic/racist jokes:

“But, what may have been subversive and irreverent in 1994, now just seems vulgar, hateful and tone-deaf — from their unabashedly misogynistic treatment of women (including Kathleen Turner as Penny’s mom) to their insidious racism. In the harsh light of 2014, their juvenile buffoonery looks embarrassing and lazy. It’s hard to imagine a new generation latching on to this brand of humor.”

- Associated Press

“A game Kathleen Turner is the woman’s mother and Harry’s ex-girlfriend, although ‘girlfriend’ is probably not the right word here. The consistently misogynist script refers to her character, twice, as a ‘titanic whore.’ And yes, the film is rated PG-13.”

- Washington Post

“Over the course of the film, Lloyd mocks an Asian woman for speaking a different language; he indifferently tells an old couple that he was basically responsible for their son’s fatal motorcycle accident; he laughs at the notion of a female doctor; and when a female speaker gets on stage at the KEN conference, he and Harry shout ‘Show us your tits!’ That’s not a couple of goofballs accidentally killing a hitman by aggravating his ulcer. Shouting sexist remarks at a woman is hateful behavior, and sadly, it’s emblematic of their actions throughout the film, not to mention the movie’s attitude towards women in general (with the exception of the female doctor, the women in Dumb and Dumber To are either whores or a half-wit).”

- Collider

“Women remain jiggle-candy or hags to be called out for ugliness in the Farrelly universe.”

- The Wrap

On Rob Riggle:

“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.”

- The Hollywood Reporter

“Riggle gets a couple of the film’s funniest sight gags; I won’t spoil it, but his military-trained character can blend in just about anywhere.”

- New York Post

On Carrey and Daniels:

“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.”

- The LA Times

“Daniels bridges the gap between Harry and Lloyd’s aggressive clownishness and some semblance of humanity. The actor’s participation in this sequel might be read by some as a bird-flip to the Emmy voters who gave him a Best Actor trophy for The Newsroom this year, but he’s so hilarious — and so crucial to the scene when Harry decides to turn on Lloyd for justified reasons — that it just makes you re-appreciate Daniels’ extreme versatility.”

- The Wrap

“But the buzz wears off quickly, harshed as it is by the increasingly sad spectacle of two fiftysomething movie stars acting like horny, leering teenagers. When, during a science conference, Harry and Lloyd shout ‘show us your tits’ in unison at a young woman onstage, it becomes clear that the characters are now less guileless nincompoops than dirty old men. This time around, they’re gross (and dumb) in all the wrong ways.”

- The A.V. Club

“As talented as they are, watching two comedic pros do improvisation (or scripted bits) with each other isn’t anywhere near as funny as watching them interact with other people. For most of the first 2/3, the film is basically Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey acting in a near-vacuum.”

- Forbes