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Movie Review

"If you’re looking for meaning, for depth, for signs of intelligence, look somewhere else."

How does one effectively criticize a movie that spends millions of dollars bragging about how stupid it is and making statements like that? How does one sufficiently denigrate the work of a director whose credits include the Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Issue Video and TV’s short-lived Jenny McCarthy Show? I don’t know, but I’ll give it my best shot ...

Before Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels introduced Dumb and Dumber’s Harry and Lloyd to America, their characters had to grow up. Or so the story goes in this puerile prequel. Much to audiences’ chagrin, we find out that Harry is the product of home schooling. Lloyd is the son of a high school’s live-in janitor. So it’s when Lloyd’s mom decides he needs to go to "real school" that Harry and Lloyd meet. Collide is more accurate, an accident that leaves a good chunk of Lloyd’s front tooth stuck in Harry’s forehead. The two become fast friends and trudge off to their first day of school. Saying that Harry and Lloyd act like overgrown 5-year-olds is an insult to 5-year-olds everywhere. They’re clueless, brainless, dense, dumb and a little dull for good measure. So when Principal Collins cooks up a plan to swindle $100,000 from the school superintendent by creating a fake "special needs" class for the duncical duo, Harry and Lloyd just feel, well, special. They’re all set to crown Collins "Best Human of the Year," and they can’t figure out why school newspaper reporter Jessica Matthews is dead set on exposing the scam.

positive elements: It’s hard to assign anything "positive" to a non-story like this, but if you squint really hard, and pretend that what you’re seeing is serious, it’s possible to eke out a few nuggets. Strip the movie of its rancid candy coating and what you have left is two friends who can survive anything together. Harry and Lloyd bicker and fight, but they can never stay mad at each other for long. Also, Principal Collins is brought to justice for exploiting his school to expand his pocketbook. It turns out he has a history of embezzlement; a fact that prompts the police to haul him off to jail.

sexual content: Script writers use the "simplicity" of Harry and Lloyd’s minds to prompt them to spout and act out all manner of sexual innuendo. It’s supposed to be funny because they don’t know they’re saying or doing it. Among other things, they call breasts "milk bubbles." Harry pulls a banana out of his pants. Lloyd makes comments about Harry’s mom’s "jugs." They say and do things that allude to gay relationships and sexual acts. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that Principal Collins and the school’s "lunch lady" are having an affair. A classmate peers through a hole in the girls’ locker room (audiences see a group of girls wearing underwear). Harry is convinced Lloyd’s mom "has the hots" for him. One of Lloyd’s fantasies includes footage of Jessica (a high school girl) making out with and kissing Harry’s mother. Various female characters wear revealing outfits. Lloyd is seen nude from the waist up after he "showers." To dry off, he pastes napkins all over his body and stands in front of a huge fan waiting for them to blow off. Comments are made about a girl not wearing any underwear. Collins and the Lunch Lady make out under his desk. There are jokes about sexual "spankings" and penis "extenders," a visual gag showing a woman with three bikini-clad breasts, and a scene in which Lloyd thinks he’s had sex because he took off his shoe.

violent content: Harry and Lloyd’s collision is followed by a series of similarly slapstick episodes of violence. They fall through a ceiling. Lloyd slaps Harry across the face to prove that he’s truly numb from drinking a slurpee. He also throws a brick through Harry’s window and tackles a guy wearing a pirate costume. After the terrible twosome spray gasoline all over a car, the station attendant’s lit cigarette ignites the fumes, blowing up the entire area (the attendant is thrown to the ground but isn’t seriously injured). To avoid Lloyd and Harry (who are riding in a shopping cart), several cars crash into each other. A football player smashes into a goalpost, and later through a wall. People fall down when they step on a waxed sidewalk. A guy gets hit in the crotch. A car hits Harry, knocking him off his feet and onto its hood.

crude or profane language: Persistent, low-grade profanity is punctuated by 15 s-words (nearly all of which are used to describe excrement) and close to 20 exclamations of "Oh God" and "Oh my God." A student tells a teacher, "No f-ing way."

drug and alcohol content: The principal and the Lunch Lady down mixed drinks. Harry says his imaginary friend—a pirate—drinks rum. The convenience store attendant smokes a cigarette.

other negative elements: It’s not much of a stretch to say that Dumb and Dumberer’s sole purpose is to generate laughs at the expense of special needs children. When bullies abuse Harry and Lloyd (even hoisting them up a flag pole), the two boys think they’re having a grand time. When Lloyd chips his tooth, he’s mad he can’t stick it under his pillow for the tooth fairy. And when Harry thinks his hand is covered in feces, he sniffs it and begins licking it. (Other extended scatological sight-gags include Harry getting covered in mud, Lloyd unleashing gas while in a pool, Harry smearing chocolate all over a bathroom and the convenience store attendant smirking about urinating in the boys’ slurpees.) Lloyd steals a stuffed polar bear from a museum.

conclusion: Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does," and what stupid does is go see Dumb and Dumberer. Sheer embarrassment over the thought of actually buying a ticket and walking into such a lamebrain movie should successfully keep most families shopping instead of watching. If that’s not enough, foul language, sexual crudeness, rude insensitivity to mental challenges and a lesbian kiss should more than seal the deal.

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Eric Christian Olsen as Lloyd Christmas; Derek Richardson as Harry Dunne; Luis Guzmán as Ray; Eugene Levy as Principal Collins; Rachel Nichols as Jessica Matthews; Mimi Rogers as Mrs. Dunne


Troy Miller ( )


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Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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