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Dumb and Dumber

Directed by Peter Farrelly. Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Karen Duffy, Victoria Rowell, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket. (1994, PG-13, 117 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Dec. 23, 1994

Finally -- the exception that proves the rule: there is such a thing as truth in advertising. Dumb and Dumber is… well, dumb and dumber. Hallelujah. Maybe it's indicative of my end-of-the-year brain-fry, but this dopey comedy about two of the dumbest guys in the universe on a road trip to misadventure is a hoot. And if a movie is to be judged on how well it achieves its goals, then this comedy is a galloping success. If you're going to ask why a movie might want to aspire to stupidity, you've already missed the boat. “Stupid is as stupid does,” said Forest Gump, and a country embraced the phrase as the wisdom of an idiot savant. When Jim Carrey propels his body into new levels of idiocy, we see merely the bastard child of Jerry Lewis. Forgive me for getting a bit Freudian here, but it is the son's job to overtake the father. And Jim Carrey is no longer the Cinderfella; he's already arrived at the ball. Carrey has all the physical moves Lewis had in his prime (and then some) and he has all the same willingness to take his humor wherever necessary in order to get the laugh, but, so far, he exhibits no trace of Lewis' obnoxious maudlin streak or the master's vain ambitions toward “serious” filmmaking. In the tradition of Steve Martin's The Jerk, Carrey here plays a guy who just couldn't be any more stupid and not drown in a rainstorm. Jeff Daniels ably matches him in intelligence. These two best friends stumble through any number of silly escapades rife with physical humor, sight gags, fart jokes, and gross finger-pointing at any number of other usually normal bodily functions. There is no question that most of this movie is not in good taste. But it sure is funny. This is not yet the great movie that, god willing, Carrey will someday make. Dumb and Dumber has too much plot, for one thing. Story requirements just get in the way of gags, although Lauren Holly provides a good comic foil. Too much time is spent on the details of getting from here to there, when the real fun of the movie is what happens along the way from here to there. You already know if this movie is or is not your cup of tea, but bear in mind that Dumb and Dumber spikes your cup with a bottle of laxatives.

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