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Carrey, Daniels bring the yuks in 'Dumber To'

Tom Long
The Detroit News

Stupidity, it seems, stands the test of time.

"Dumb and Dumber To," a sequel 20 years in the making, turns out to be just as idiotic as its forebear, a nonstop parade of misused words, fractured logic, infantile choices and deluded perseverance. It goes for laughs — no matter how cheap or telescoped — with gleeful impunity, caring not a whit for sincerity or subtlety.

It's really funny.

This despite the fact that lead dodos Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) are played by actors now aged 52 and 59. Dumbness apparently transcends age, and both actors throw themselves into the goofiness with total abandon.

True, the emphasis this time around seems a bit more verbal than physical. But Carrey still brings his clownish agility to the party, and Daniels, as smart an actor as there is, is fearlessly oblivious at all times.

The story begins with Harry visiting Lloyd at the insane asylum where he's spent the past two decades in an apparent catatonic state. Except — surprise! — Lloyd suddenly lets Harry in on the fact he's been faking all along. Ha! Gotcha! Good one, an impressed Harry has to admit.

When they get back to their apartment complex — yes, the blind kid with birds still lives there — Harry tells Lloyd he is in desperate need of a kidney. They go to Harry's folks' house, but since they turn out to be Japanese, a genetic match-up seems unlikely.

But then Harry gets news that he may have fathered a child — there's a kidney! So they search out the birth mother (a wonderfully rough Kathleen Turner), but it turns out she gave the girl up for adoption. By now Penny (Rachel Melvin, splendidly vacuous) has turned into full-blown empty-headed hogtie and she's now on her way to an egghead convention to give a speech for her genius scientist adoptive father.

So, of course, Harry and Lloyd have to go to the egghead convention, where they'll fit right in. Complicating matters even further are the scientist's evil second wife (Laurie Holden) and her twin henchmen (Rob Riggle). So everything should go smooth, right?

Directors and co-writers Bobby and Peter Farrelly were pretty much the funniest men behind a camera in Hollywood from 1994 to 2003 (the original "Dumb," "There's Something About Mary," "Me, Myself & Irene," "Stuck on You"). Then suddenly the funny dust seemed to disappear.

Apparently, all it took to fix things was to bring back these two idiots. The approach is familiar — joke after joke after joke, relentlessly — while both Carrey and Daniels are so freaking on that there's no stopping the momentum. And thank heavens. In a world of ISIS, Ebola, dwindling retirement funds and severe drought, somehow this film seems needed.

"Dumb and Dumber To" may not help anyone who needs a kidney — but, then again, it might. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine.

'Dumb and Dumber To'


Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references

Running time: 110 minutes