Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

Posted on June 11, 2003 at 3:37 pm

D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Some strong language, repeated use of the s-word
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Comic peril
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: 2003

This movie begins with the birth of one of the characters — from the baby’s point of view. He begins to emerge, then he bites the doctor and goes back inside. If he had to watch this movie, he would have stayed there.

No one expects greatness from a movie called “Dumb and Dumberer.” It would be dumb, dumberer, and dumberest to expect much by way of humor or plot or character or energy. Even so, this manages to be disappointing.

So, those who fondly remember the original “Dumb and Dumber,” starring Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey should watch it again rather than sit through this lame prequel, showing Harry and Lloyd in high school back in the 1980’s.

The film tweaks the 80’s as a kind of dumb and dumberer decade, with 80’s relics like acid washed jeans, Vanilla Ice, Devo, and Bob Saget (whose part consists of screaming the same four-letter word over and over). There are some good moments with always-terrific Eugene Levy as the corrupt principal who wants to embezzle the money that is supposed to go to the special needs class so he can buy a condo in Hawaii. SNL’s Cheri Oteri has some funny blank looks as his game but addled lunch lady co-conspirator. But the only newcomer whose career will probably survive this movie is Eric Christian Olson, as Lloyd (the character played by Carey in the original). Olson does not imitate Carey; he more or less channels his physical elasticity and dumb-but-thinks-he’s-got-it-all-figured-out look, and he adds his own goofy sweetness, creating a real presence in the midst of what is otherwise close to a complete waste of time.

Parents should know that in addition to being dumberest, this movie has strong language and raunchy double entendres that 14-year-olds will probably find hilarious. A melted chocolate bar turns into an extended graphic excrement joke that is repeated later with mud. There is some stereotyping about a foreign exchange student, though she turns the tables on those who make assumptions about her.

Families who see this movie should talk about how “special needs” kids are treated in school.

There have been wonderful, classic comedies about people who were not very smart. But this isn’t one. Those that are include the films of Laurel and Hardy and even the Three Stooges. Families who enjoy this movie should take a look at “Big Business” or “Two Tars” to see how geniuses can make brilliant comedy out of simple-mindedness.

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