starring Eric Christian Olsen, Derek Richardson, Luis Guzmán, Eugene Levy
screenplay by Robert Brenner & Troy Miller
directed by Troy Miller
by Walter Chaw Harry (Derek Richardson) and Lloyd (Eric Christian Olsen) are imbecile best friends played by two young actors doing their best (which is pretty good) Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey impersonations. Meet-cute'ing in a high school being bilked by an evil administrator (Eugene Levy) and his lunch lady squeeze (Cheri Oteri), the pair tick off the litany of Farrelly-inspired gross-out gags with neither the heart nor the timing. Asians are made great sport of in an antiquated sort of way that isn't so much offensive as slack, scat-like material is smeared all over a bathroom, Bob Saget gets a paycheck, and Mimi Rogers makes out with Rachel Nichols in a Hef grotto. On the plus side, its entendre-laden script isn't actually worse than Down With Love's.
What distinguishes the two films is that Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd never pretends to be competent, not for an instant. The product is prefab and artless, a film that resembles an outtake reel enough that the outtake reel that concludes it is indistinguishable from the picture proper. Talking too much about continuity errors and gaps in logic (particularly during a disquieting abduction) is the kind of thing that marks one as out of touch with the audience for films like this, but rather than condescend that there are actually people who might love this film, let me amend that while there may indeed be base films that are funny and smart about their scatology (Blazing Saddles, plus the Farrelly troika of There's Something About Mary, Kingpin, and Shallow Hal), this isn't one of them. In short, there is no audience for this film, because retarded monkeys don't have money.
It's hard to express how sapping Dumb and Dumberer and others of its ilk can be. Wearing its commercial intentions on its sleeve, hoping to make a killing opening weekend before word-of-mouth sends it giggling out of the first-runs, the picture is a whore's promise of more of the same: no commitment, minimal investment, and the illusion of a victimless crime. The truth is more insidious, though, as it's when films continue to get worse--not grosser, not lewd-er, but technically worse--that The Matrix Reloaded or, heaven save us, Bruce Almighty, begin to be lauded as think-pieces ripe for scholarship and discussion. Base entertainments have always ruled the day, it's true, but garbage like Dumb and Dumberer doesn't even offer the sordid pleasures of a two-dollar trick. It's a shame that free clinics don't test for stupid, because stuff like this isn't just symptomatic, it's a carrier. Originally published: June 13, 2003.