Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
What is it going to take for Hollywood to discover the meaning of the word "shame"?
This is largely a rhetorical question, but what is it going to take for Hollywood to discover the meaning of the word "shame"? As sequels go, "Dumb and Dumberer" has suffered more body blows than one of Mike Tyson's blind dates. The original directors, the Farrelly brothers, dropped out. The original stars, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, dropped out. The anointed screenwriters, South Park's own Trey Parker and Matt Stone, fled the project despite the fact they would have earned roughly a million dollars per fart joke.
At this point, any self-respecting studio would take the project out behind the barn, feed it a couple of sugar cubes and then shoot it in the head. As projects go, it's a spontaneous abortion. It's a transporter accident. It's cloning gone horribly awry.
This isn't any self-respecting studio, however. It's New Line Cinema, and apparently someone, somewhere deep in the bowels of New Line had the courage to stand up and fight to ensure that "Dumb and Dumberer" would shine its light to inspire a weary world. So where do you turn when Plan A is in shambles and you just need some hack to toss your Chernobyl frog of a project over the fence into the public realm so you can go ahead and take the tax write-off? Apparently you turn to director Troy Miller. He's from TV. He's just happy to be here. According to the Internet Movie Database, his next project is a TV movie called "Knee High P.I."
You also turn to Eric Christian Olsen and Derek Richardson, who, fresh from that one corner where the day laborers gather each morning, play Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels respectively. They meet in high school and lead a band of like misfits to thwart a scheming principal (Eugene Levy) and his lunch lady love interest (Cheri Oteri). Bob Saget also makes an appearance, which makes this film a veritable hospice house for the terminally unfunny. At least the cast saved me the trouble of deliberating about the rating, as I just consulted the Mr. Cranky Scorecard instead: Bob Saget in a movie, add one bomb. Any Saturday Night Live alumna in a movie, add dynamite, call it a day.
Just in case you're still considering seeing this abomination, let me unroll the cinematic biohazard tape and warn you that we're treated to a glimpse of Cheri Oteri's ass. It's but a brief, horrible second, but those twin cheeks will forever be burned onto the back of my retinas in an afterimage of horror, much like the image of the two airplanes smashing into the World Trade Center over and over and over again.
Everything about "Dumb and Dumberer" is cheap, substandard and ultimately contemptuous of its audience. You can see the piece of frayed electrical tape stuck on Lloyd's tooth to make it look chipped. One of Levy's first lines as the evil principal is "I tape record everything that happens in this office." Guess what proves to be his undoing? The climax of the movie, if you could call it that, happens during a Thanksgiving parade that eschews the posh setting of main street, and instead winds its way around a school running track while three bored extras in the "crowd" clap anemically. Levy's busted, and his last desperate act is to grab a check and run away with it. A check! You can stop payment on a check, you morons! Regardless, everyone runs after him as though it were a pouch stuffed with uncut diamonds.
As the credits roll, we see some outtakes featuring actors' gaffes and deleted scenes. That's right, there were actual scenes deemed less funny than the ones that ultimately made it into this film. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll be included on the DVD (available next week, I suspect), which I'll rent only if it includes a commentary track from test audiences -- though it may be tough to hear the dialogue over the unmistakable sound of an angry mob setting a theater on fire.
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