By Christian DiMartino
Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world? Watch Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. There’s a one-in-a-million chance you’ll enjoy it, so yes, I’m saying there’s a chance. In typical Lloyd Christmas fashion, you’ll find yourself screaming, “I don’t care!” for 90 minutes.
I have seen many movies- many great, many dreadful. I have done my suffering, but every so often, I find myself refusing to watch something. Despite my efforts, there is only so much that my stomach can handle.
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd is such a movie, and man, did my tummy hurt.
Dumb and Dumber, in my eyes, is brilliant. The film, directed by the Farrelly Brothers (who would of course strike more gold with There’s Something About Mary and Kingpin), was not liked by critics. My guess is, film critics in 1994 had a stick up their ass, because the movie is still really funny. Anchored by the charms of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, the movie worked because there was smart within the stupid. The characters were dumb, but their stupidity had inspiration. It’s difficult to imagine a Dumb and Dumber movie without them.
Well, enter 2003, and Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd was inflicted upon us. Gee, I bet people were waiting out the door to see this. A prequel to a classic comedy that not only doesn’t star Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, BUT it also features no involvement from the Farrelly Brothers. I was seven when the movie came out, and I looked at the trailer with distaste. I don’t skip many movies, but I knew that I didn’t want any part of it.
Now, I have taken part of it, and I don’t believe my eyes, or ears, will ever be the same again.
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd is a horrendous film in which even the very mild admirable qualities cannot even warrant a half a star. Why? Because what is horrible in this movie is… really horrible. I sat there blank 90% of the time. The other 10%, I would finally snap and scream in the hopes it would end. Dumb and Dumberer, I reward you no points, may God have mercy on your soul.
This is, of course, a cheap prequel in which its only duty is to make reference to the original movie. Lord knows that that is the only semi-enjoyable content. Yes, you have a film of somewhat original content, and yet the only marginally well done aspect of the film is the groundwork laid down before them. Jolly good.
Set in 1986 (despite the fact that they feature music by Good Charlotte, very consistent), the film follows the quote-on-quote “courtship” of Harry (Derek Richardson) and Lloyd (Eric Christian Olsen), two… one would say idiots, but from this film, mentally retarded, folk who bump into each other and become good friends. Their friendship answers a question from the original film: just how did Lloyd chip his tooth? Following the answer to that question, Harry and Lloyd are soon forced into a plot in which their high school principal and lunchlady /lover (Eugene Levy and Cheri Oteri, perhaps the best thing about this movie) create a special education department in order to get more funding for the school/ embezzle.
So, let me start by saying that this movie is hardly funny. Let me also say that at times it’s so dreadful that I often couldn’t maintain my silence. Even the mildly amusing moments don’t stick because they’re drowned out by the terrible ones. Here is a film that, quite desperately, attempts to reignite the spark that the original film had. It does so by attempting similar jokes and making nods to the original. Except here they’re not funny. They more just feel like an attempt, and a desperate one at that.
One of the more charming elements of the original was the way in which Harry and Lloyd were in the middle of this giant plot, but they hadn’t the slightest clue. All of this wild stuff was happening around them, but to them, it was just a somewhat bizarre trip to Aspen. Here, they’re in the middle of a plot that doesn’t really exploit their stupidity. Rather, they’re in a plot in which they’re not exactly the focus, and not only did I not care, like, at all, but it made for the longest 90 minutes I’ve spent since my last doctor’s visit… except that was more amusing.
I do not know who this film is for, to be frank. One would think fans of the original, but without Carrey and Daniels, that sorta defeats the purpose. Not to mention, it’s not a movie for children, but it certainly could’ve been written by children. The antics of Harry and Lloyd were endearingly dumb the first time. They were stupid, but they were at least close to a coherent thought. Here, they come across as mentally challenged, more often than not. It’s only more fitting that the storyline around them involves a special education course. Hilarious.
Yes, I reward it zero stars, but I also kind of admire the performance from Olsen as Lloyd. As arguably Jim Carrey’s biggest admirer, I cannot help but admit that his impersonation is actually pretty good. He gets the voice and the mannerisms down pat. Oteri and Levy also provide occasional amusement. Too bad that they’re in service of… this. Dumb and Dumberer is the kind of movie that is convinced that a line such as “Chicks are for fags” is funny. They even repeat the line, because the writers must have been proud of it. They shouldn’t have been. Here is a dreadful film in which I not only couldn’t wait for the end, but I also couldn’t believe I sat through the entire thing. A movie that I refused to see for 17 years… and I wish I’d kept refusing.