Dumb & Dumber

1994, Movie, PG-13, 106 mins


In the tradition of American slapstick, DUMB & DUMBER exploits the comic possibilities of a pair of imbeciles who can complicate any imaginable situation through their propensity for infantile, anarchic folly. The film's commercial success, despite the coolness of critics, is proof that there is still pleasure to be found in pure and simple buffoonery, and that basic bodily functions remain a resonant subject for comedy.

Limousine driver Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) has a bowl haircut, a chipped tooth, and a dangerously low IQ. Smitten by beautiful heiress Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly), he pursues her to Aspen in a fur-covered van driven by recently fired dog-groomer Harry (Jeff Daniels), Lloyd's best buddy and intellectual equal. Our heroes are oblivious to the fact that they have inadvertently taken possession of a suitcase full of ransom money, and are being pursued by a gang of criminals.

Every gross childhood gag and indiscretion makes an appearance somewhere in this picture, with eating and excretion given special prominence. Underlying the slapstick, however, is an extravagant parody of American culture--bad taste, bad manners, the gushing sentimentality of Lloyd's daydreams, or the classic westward road trip, complete with diner scenes and archetypal rednecks. This gleefully lowbrow film is best enjoyed by the young, and by those who can still laugh at the passing of gas. There's little here for Merchant-Ivory fans, but devotees of Bunuel--e.g., the notorious dinner party sequence in THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY--may not be entirely disappointed. leave a comment

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