Dan’s Top 100 Everything: #51 Dumb and Dumber

dnd

Today’s entry is presented through some of my favorite clips and quotes from Dumb & Dumber. 

Sometimes, when I tell people that Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorite movies, they just sort of look at me in confused silence…

It’s a dumb Jim Carrey movie from the 1990’s with almost no plot, they say. Thinking it’s a great movie is a borderline criminal opinion…

I mean, Jim Carrey can be one of the most annoying actors in the world…

I try to tell them that its script is freaking loaded with fantastic jokes and bits of inspired lunacy, but they just don’t listen…

And then they finally watch it, and act surprised at the old news that this movie is great…

The key to this movie is the script and the two stars, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. For Carrey, 1994 was his breakout year. By December, he’d had two big, goofy, iconic hits with The Mask and Ace Ventura. But his best and funniest hit came out with two weeks left in the year, giving Carrey the rare one-year triple stamp…

Much of Carrey’s charm comes from his physical enthusiasm, the way that he seems to be — as Johnny Carson famously put it — “made of Silly Putty.” It’s this visual, physical comedy that made Carrey so popular with schoolboys back in the 1990s…

More than that, though, Carrey has fantastic delivery and timing with great — often improvised — material. His role as Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber will always be his greatest vehicle, one of my favorite comic performances ever. It just takes me some place warm and special when I watch it…

Jeff Daniels is a little bit of an odd choice for the co-star, Harry Dunne. He came into the movie as a dramatic character actor. He’s not exactly the comedy headliner type. But thank goodness he read the script and seized this once in a lifetime opportunity…

Daniels is a perfect counterpoint to Carrey, projecting a curious dopiness. There’s fantastic chemistry between the two actors. Daniels plays his part with a little bit of dryness that settles Carrey’s mania. The thought of any other actor playing the role just seems totally wrong and out of place…

But it’s true that the movie is often crude. I tend to find the grosser and broader bits less funny than the wordplay and the inspired wrong-headedness of the movie’s best lines. Perhaps the most painful bit involves Daniels and some ex-lax. The dumbest parts of the movie are a bit of a downer…

But every now and then the movie has a moment so funny or original that it transcends the weaker parts of the screenplay…

And there’s so much variety, such a feeling of invention, that the Farrely brothers-written and -directed movie rarely lags for a minute or two. From hilarious wordplay (often through Harry or Lloyd using the incorrect phrase), to physical comedy, to gross-out humor, to farce, Dumb and Dumber makes time for everything. It even has a little bit of musical comedy to it…

And — importantly — Lloyd and Harry art ultimately good natured fellows, kind-hearted and endearing. You root for them, even when they are a bit too enthusiastic and self-defeating…

In 2003, a prequel called Dumb and Dumberer was released with a new cast and crew. I haven’t seen it, but the general consensus is that we can pretend it doesn’t exist. Much more intriguing is a sequel called Dumb and Dumber To supposedly a decade in the works scheduled to come out in November this year starring Carrey and Daniels and written/directed by the Farrely brothers. I don’t expect it to be great or match the original, but I plan to see it and hope it gives us some new great Lloyd and Harry moments. I’m holding hope that maybe, just maybe, it’s a worthy sequel…

In summary, if asked if I like this movie, my answer would be clear…

100

Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *