Posts Tagged ‘Jim carrey’

Whenever I quote Dumb & Dumber in front of my mom—which almost always goes over her head, leading me to explain that it’s from the movie—she reminds me of the day she took me to see it.

For whatever reason, she allowed my friend Nicky and I to pick the movie she that day in 1994, and she and her friend Lana agreed to see whatever we chose.

Jim Carrey was fresh off of In Living Color (Fire Marshall Bill, anyone?), and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask had already come out that same year. Our pick was a true no-brainer: Dumb & Dumber.

To hear my mom and Lana tell it, it was the worst 107 minutes of their lives. But for Nicky and me, at age 12, it was the funniest movie we’d ever seen.

When I talk about my favorite all-time comedies I still put Dumb & Dumber as my runaway #1 (the rest of the list, in no particular order: Austin Powers: Goldmember (or at least the opening scene), Wedding Crashers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Groundhog Day, My Cousin Vinny and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

I have many friends with whom I can quote the movie’s most obscure lines and still get a chuckle if the context is just right.

  • If someone asks you if want to grab a bite to eat, you might say, I swallowed a big June bug while we were driving. I’m not really hungry.
  • If you come into work on Monday and someone asks you how your weekend was, you might say, Not bad. Fell off the jet way again.
  • If you are planning a vacation with your significant other, you might say, I want to go someplace where the beer flows like wine.
  • If you and a friend can’t remember someone’s name and then your friend finally gets it, you might say, I was way off! I knew it started with an S, though!
  • If you’re having a singles night out with friends and they want to do a lap, you might say, I’m gonna hang by the bar, put out the vibe.
  • If you’re waiting on line at the post office and the customer in front of you is arguing about needing extra postage for their package, you might say, You can’t triple a double stamp.
  • And if you can’t figure out how to end a conversation, you might say, Big Gulps, huh? All right! Well, see ya later.

When I heard the Farrelly brothers were making a sequel to the movie I considered a comedic masterpiece—and maybe the last Jim Carrey film before he was Jim Carrey—I admit I was bummed. Why mess with perfection? (They made a D&D prequel in 2003, but as far as I know no one from the original movie was involved, so it felt more like a student film homage to my favorite movie. I didn’t see it.)

"Let's go get a coupla bowls of loud mouth soup." (Photo via collider.com.)

“Let’s go get a coupla bowls of loud mouth soup.” (Photo via collider.com.)

Nevertheless, I knew I’d have to go to the movies and see for myself whether a 20-years-later sequel did anything to tarnish Dumb & Dumber’s legacy, à la Rocky V.*

*Until the sixth Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa, came out in 2006, Rocky V was the only Rocky film I’d been old enough to see in theaters, so I had no frame of reference for how bad it truly was relative to the original, or the first three sequels, until years later.

As I was watching Dumb & Dumber To (the sequel) in the theater a few weeks ago, the following thoughts crossed my mind: If I saw the original D&D film for the first time today, as a 32-year-old, would I enjoy it as much as I did when I was 12 years old? And would my 12-year-old self have enjoyed D&D2 if it came out back in 1994?

I have these debates with people every so often, about whether certain movies “hold up” over time. Do they feel outdated if you watch them ten years later? And for comedies in particular, are the best lines from a movie be as funny the second time you hear them, or the fifth, or the hundredth? When you watch the same comedy five years later on TBS (without the curses!) do you even laugh at all? Or by that point is the movie’s value to you solely nostalgia?

Dumb & Dumber To, when judged on a standard of all comedies, is average to below average. The plot is pretty stupid (especially the first scene that explains the last 20 years in Lloyd and Harry’s world, as teased in the first trailer); the main characters are definitely stupid.

The tone was similar to the first film, and to other Farrelly brothers comedies, where the humor borders on mean-spirited until you realize that the joke is always on Lloyd and Harry, even if they’re being jerks to someone else. Most of the jokes ranged from slapstick to overtly crude and/or gross to dumb wordplay misunderstandings (in the original Lloyd uses the phrase “tea and strumpets”; in the sequel he mispronounces “g-nat”), which were all common to the first film.

"I gotta take this. It's my dead dead. (Photo credit: nypost.com.)

“I gotta take this. It’s my dead dead. (Photo credit: nypost.com.)

Over the course of two hours I had a couple of big laughs, a few small laughs, and the rest of the time I sat there thinking about what the sequel does or doesn’t do to the original film’s legacy, if it has one.

Because I was so young when Dumb & Dumber came out in 1994, I can’t recall with great accuracy the climate around comedy films or the movie business in general. But I looked back and it turns out 1994 was actually a ridiculous year for movies. The top grossing films of that year were Forrest Gump (depending on who you ask, this is one of the best movies of all time), The Lion King (arguably the best animated movie of all time), and True Lies (anything James Cameron directs does a gazillion dollars at the box office).

Here are some other titles that came out in 1994: Speed, Pulp Fiction, Interview with the Vampire, Angels in the Outfield, Little Women, Might Ducks 2, Major League 2, oh, and The freakin’ Shawshank Redemption. Not to mention the two OTHER aforementioned Jim Carrey comedies. For the full list of movies from 1994 with box office grosses, go here.

So with all those memorable films, Dumb & Dumber somehow emerged as my favorite comedy of all time. Again, perhaps it was nothing more than the fact that I was 12 years old Jim Carrey was becoming a star. I can’t know that either way.

I don’t care at all what the critics say about D&D2, though I think most of the reviews have been negative (25% on Rotten Tomatoes and 36 on Metacritic). Even if it was just an ersatz version of the original, an unnecessary coda to an already perfect comedy, I don’t care. Because if nothing else it gave me an excuse to replay all the best jokes from the original in my head, and to go out and see a movie with a friend who I don’t see as often as Harry sees Lloyd. And as for Dumb & Dumber‘s legacy, I’d say it’s still in tact.

Big Gulps, huh? All right! Well, see ya later.

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