By Stephanie Zacharek
By Simon Abrams
By Michelle Orange
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Nick Schager
By Amy Nicholson
By The Invisible Woman
By I Used to Be Darker
The title says it all. The makers of Dumb and Dumber won't win a genius grant anytime soon, but as long as you have a taste for the flipped-out antics of Jim Carrey and don't mind juvenile bathroom humor, it ain't a bad way to kill two hours. Especially if your IQ feels like crawling under a duck.
The rubber-faced comedian, whose oeuvre to date includes the mindless romp Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and the nerd-as-hero fantasy The Mask, has been cursed with more Jerry Lewis hormones than any man deserves. But he uses them well, and this time he yanks Jeff Daniels along for the ride.
Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Daniels) are, for want of a better term, witless dolts. Roommates in witless, doltish Providence, R.I., they can't hold regular jobs and dream only of opening a store to sell earthworms. Lloyd, New England's most dangerous chauffeur this week, falls for the beauty (Lauren Holly) in the back of his limo ("Why you going to the airport? Flying somewhere?"), and when she apparently forgets her briefcase in the terminal building, our goofy hero decides to deliver it to her personally--in Aspen.
At first, Harry refuses to make the trip because "the French are assholes," but the boys soon set out for the Rockies in a van decorated like, um, a sheepdog. Do we have hit-and-miss slapstick? Absolutely. Malapropisms running amok? You bet. With the bad guys in hot pursuit (the briefcase actually contains a ransom payoff), Carrey quickly gets into his customary, exhausting high gear.
Lloyd confounds a motorcycle cop with beer bottles full of urine. Lloyd turns CPR into a fatal beating in a restaurant. At the Colorado line, Lloyd drives 500 miles in the wrong direction. "That John Denver is full of shit," he observes.
At last, Aspen. Costume designer Mary Zophres merits special mention for the way she decks the boys out in all manner of trendy mountain-tourist garb. The actors, and director Peter Farrelly, get the nod for the ludicrous cool Aspen poses the boys strike. Forget the, well, let's forget the diarrhea scene, okay? The tongue-frozen-to-the-chairlift scene is pretty funny, the karate-king fantasy is a riot, and the animal-rights benefit--at which an endangered species gets knocked off--throws another much-needed pie in the face of political correctness.
Daniels is no match for the irrepressible Carrey (who is?), and Holly is along for decoration, but they manage to set off his backflips, wild cavorts and sundry stupefactions in just the right ways. Robin Williams may use his head a lot more while he's leaping around up there on the ceiling, and Woody Allen may inject postmodern anxiety into his comedy. But for sheer, energetic silliness, Carrey is probably matchless in all moviedom.
If you're not sucking your thumb and yelling for a clean diaper when you come out of Dumb and Dumber, you've got more self-control than I have.
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