Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) go on a road trip to Aspen, Colorado to return Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) her briefcase after they mistakenly believe she forgot it at the Providence, Rhode Island airport. Meanwhile, Harry and Lloyd are pursued by two kidnappers (Joe Starr and Karen Duffy) who are also looking for the briefcase.
Just by the name, Dumb and Dumber sounds like it is going to be a very outlandish film, with two bumbling idiots doing stupid and absurd stuff to create laughs that lack any actual comedy. That is partially correct. Yes, Dumb and Dumber follows two bumbling idiots who do stupid and absurd stuff to create laughs. However, what sets this film up for success is it is able to create characters that you can care about, root for and get behind, creating a film that is genuinely funny.
From the first introductions of Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels), the movie sets up exactly what you should be expecting from these characters, as well as the movie itself. When Lloyd asks a woman where she is from, and she tells him she is from Austria, he does an Australian accent and says some stereotypical Australian phrases. Harry is a dog groomer and decides the dogs should eat before going to their pageant, not realizing the drive would upset their stomachs. They are set up as dim-witted but good-natured characters. This is perfect for the movie because if they were simply dim-witted, there wouldn’t be any way or reason to really connect with the them.
Since this is a buddy movie, how well the film works rests solely on the shoulders of Carrey and Daniels. If there is any kind of kink in their chemistry, the film would fail. Thankfully, Carrey and Daniels are an absolute blast together. They play very well off each other. Carrey is exactly what you would expect out from him, especially from one of his earlier films. Daniels isn’t as much of a comedy actor as Carrey, especially around the time of Dumb and Dumber‘s release, but he manages to go comedy toe-to-toe with Carrey and they are both the better for it.
What I like most about Harry and Lloyd is their stupidity seems so nonchalant. Like I said before, they are set up as dim-witted, but they don’t realize they are that way. From the small things like misunderstanding what words mean, like Austrian versus Australian, to having the opportunity to be oil boys on a bikini bus tour but instead they direct them to somebody else. The script has all sorts of gags like that and there are many of them. It reminds me of films like Airplane! where the movie throws as many jokes out as possible with the expectation that the ones that miss their mark are forgotten quickly because the next one is already there.
I thought Dumb and Dumber was GREAT 😀 Despite being dumb, for lack of a better term, the two main characters are extremely likable. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels play extremely well off each other, leading to some very quotable lines and memorable moments. If you like any of Carrey’s other films, especially his earlier ones like The Mask or Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, then you find a lot to love here.
Also read my reviews for Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and Dumb and Dumber To.
Harry: Nice set of hooters you got there.
Mary: I beg your pardon.
Harry: The owls. They’re beautiful.
Mary: Oh, yeah. Are you a bird lover?
Harry: Me? Oh, no. Well I used to have a parakeet but now my main area of expertise is canines. Dogs to the layperson.
Mary: Thanks. I love dogs, too. So how are you involved with them?
Harry: Oh, you know, I’ve trained them, bathed them, clipped them. I’ve even bred them.
Mary: Oh, really? Any unusual breeding?
Harry: No, mostly just doggy style. One time, we successfully mated a bulldog with a shih tzu.
Mary: Really? That’s weird.
Harry: Yeah. We called it a bullshit.
Cast & Crew
Peter Farrelly – Director / Writer
Bobby Farrelly – Director / Writer
Bennett Yellin – Writer
Todd Rundgren – Composer
Jim Carrey – Lloyd Christmas
Jeff Daniels – Harry Dunne
Lauren Holly – Mary Swanson
Mike Starr – Joe Mentalino
Karen Duffy – JP Shay
Charles Rocket – Nicholas Andre
Victoria Rowell – Athletic Beauty
Joe Baker – Bernard
Hank Brandt – Karl Swanson
Teri Garr – Helen Swanson
Brady Bluhm – Billy
Cam Neely – Sea Bass
Felton Perry – Detective Dale
Brad Lockerman – Bobby
Rob Moran – Bartender