While big time box office hits like There's Something About Mary have put the Farrelly Brothers at the top of the comedy directing heap way out there in Hollywood, in this reviewer's opinion, their first feature, Dumb And Dumber, remains their funniest. That's not to say their other films are bad quite the opposite, as most of them are very good but something about the sheer insanity and the sheer stupidity of Dumb And Dumber just works so well that it's hard not to let yourself laugh no matter how base, tasteless and crude the humor usually is. The film is, in essence, the cinematic equivalent of a fart you know you shouldn't laugh and that it's really immature to find humor in it, but you do anyway and you probably always will.
For anyone who hasn't seen the film, the story revolves around two moronic roommates named Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey). Harry works as a dog-groomer while Lloyd tries to pay the bills working as a limousine driver. When one of Lloyd's passengers, a pretty red head named Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) leaves a suitcase full of money in the back seat of his car, he and Harry decide to try and do the right thing by tracking her down and returning it to her. Lloyd's got a bit of a crush on the poor gal and doesn't realize that by returning the money, he's actually completely screwing up a ransom money drop off, but that doesn't stop our intrepid due from getting in Harry's dog shaped mini van and trying to make it across the country to Aspen, Colorado.
Of course, along the way things get a little more complicated than that. Some gangsters get on their tail and, through some clever and funny mistakes, figure that the two are a pair of super geniuses out to mess with them. A random truck stop encounter with a man known only as Sea Bass (Cam Neely) proves to be near fatal, and a few run ins with the law keep things interesting.
Carrey took this role long before we started seeing him in more serious fare like the excellent Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Man On The Moon. This is the old Jim Carrey, the Ace Ventura Jim Carrey who warmed our hearts by talking out of his ass. Here, we get more of the same. He's completely over the top, amazing in his ability to handle the prat falls and physical side of the comedy, and absolutely nuts. Surprisingly enough, Jeff Daniels is right there with him along for the ride and every part his comedic equal in this film. Daniels is a little more understated in his performance but obviously has no qualms whatsoever about going for the gross out and he tackles the toilet humor and dirty jokes with full force. He shows a real knack for facial expressions and wins just as many laughs in this film as Carrey does which likely surprised a lot of people when the film premiered back in 1994.
While a lot of people might be put off by what some could reasonably consider a lack of plot, Dumb And Dumber keeps the jokes coming at such a rapid pace and with such ferocious and insane regularity that as long as you're willing to look past minor details like story and character development, it's hard not to love the film. Anyone going into the movie expecting biting satire or witty dialogue will likely not find this to be their cup of tea it is called Dumb And Dumber after all but for those of us who are able to check our brains at the door and enjoy the sight of two grown men shooting ketchup and mustard into their mouths and noses in order to outdo one another this film proves to be fantastic entertainment. High brow it ain't, but damn funny it sure is.
This extended version of the film adds in a combined six minutes of footage that mainly plays out over three specific scenes the scene where the guys are in the hot tub together, the scene where they're at the gas station, and the scene where Harry is dealing with explosive diarrhea in the bathroom. Each of these three scenes is noticeable longer and the bathroom scene is a bit more obscene, but nothing here changes the tone or flow of the film at all. The gags are extended a bit but don't go into this new version with hopes and aspirations of a completely different experience as this is still more or less the same Dumb And Dumber we all know and love.The DVD
The 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on this release is sharp, clean and colorful and thankfully proves to be free of most major transfer issues. There aren't any issues with edge enhancement or mpeg compression and only some slight aliasing present in the usual spots like along the lines of background buildings or vehicles. Color reproduction is dead on, black levels are strong, deep and very solid and there's a very nice level of both foreground and background detail present throughout the image. Sharpness is where it should be and skin tones look lifelike and natural from start to finish, the reds in particular are nice and bright and don't bleed into the surrounding colors at all. There's a little bit of grain here and there but no problems in terms of print damage, dirt or debris on the image at all. In all seriousness, Dumb And Dumber looks really, really good.Sound:
There isn't a lot of difference between the English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix and the English language DTS-ES 6.1 Surround Sound mix on this release both sound very good, with the DTS track getting the slight edge for better and stronger bass. While almost everything comes at you from the front speakers the rears are used now and again for background music and sound effects and they do serve to build up a bit of atmosphere in a couple of scenes. Dialogue is clean, clear and free of any hiss or distortion, though some scenes probably could have been slightly boosted in the rear channels to make the surround activity that does happen a bit more pronounced. Aside from that one minor quibble, however, everything comes through nicely on this DVD. A Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is also included and the disc comes with an English closed captioning option and subtitles available in French and Spanish.Extras:
First up is a look back at the making of the film courtesy of a retrospective documentary entitled Still Dumb After All These Years. Through interviews with the Farrelly Brothers, the producers of the film and Jeff Daniels we learn about casting decisions, how the script was proved to be a very tough sell to certain studio parties, and about the relationship that developed between Daniels and Carrey on set and how the worked on some specific scene details together. Apparently the Farrelly Brothers sold the producers on the movie by acting out scenes in the office, and initially Steve Martin and Martin Short were wanted for the leads. While Carrey himself isn't interviewed here (which is a shame), there are plenty of clips of his antics from the film used to highlight certain moments in here. The piece is a bit on the short side seeing as it's the only documentary/featurette on here (it's 18:08), but it's interesting and kind of fun to hear some of these stories thankfully it's more than just electronic press kit and talking head material. Brady Bluhm and Karen Duffy are in here as well, talking about their parts, Duffy's part was originally intended for a man. Mike Starr talks about what it was like to be 'the gas man' while Cam Neely talks about how his roots in rural Canada allowed him to turn into a redneck easily enough. Harland Williams covers how he was originally trying for Daniels' role and ended up as the cop.
New Line has also supplied twelve deleted and/or alternate scenes that weren't used in either the theatrical version of the movie or the slightly longer version present on this DVD. Two alternate endings can also be found alongside this material. When it's all said and done, this material runs a combined total of approximately forty-one minutes. The scenes break down as follows (MILD SPOILERS AHEAD):
The Box (with introduction from Karen Duffy and Charles Rocket): (3:27) Duffy and Rocket talk about how they worked on this scene for days and how it never showed up in the movie. It's basically Duffy and Rocket messing around with someone locked in a box in the basement. From there we see them lounging around and discussing how they're going to have to take on Harry and Lloyd with comments from the two actors interspersed.
Soup's On: (1:48) Our two heroes make ketchup soup while freezing outside beside the lake. Carrey talks about how good it tastes when you're really hungry, then proceeds to pick out a piece of old beef jerky from between his teeth. You can imagine what happens next
Hey Get Me A Cracker!: (2:01) Carrey impersonates Dionne Warwick, confuses Daniels, and then decides he wants some crackers. They eventually get them from the back of the van, still moving, and Harry accidentally spits on the inside of Lloyd's passenger side window.
Somebody Else's Money: (4:08) Lloyd and Harry decide to go nuts with all the money they've found themselves with and completely live it up for a night, and then change their minds when they find out that a special two hour episode of Cops is on TV.
Pissed Off Dead Guy: (1:08) Harry expresses his concern with the Gas Man's passing and how he might now be haunted by him for the rest of his life. Lloyd helps by trying to choke his friend and impersonating Linda Blair from The Exorcist.
Typical Aspen Love Triangle: (1:16) Rocket's character is holding Lloyd, Harry and Mary hostage, tied to the bed in a hotel room, as he orders a one way ticket to Amsterdam. Lloyd retaliates with some insults.Deleted Short Scenes And Shot Montage With Jeff Daniels: (5:30) Daniels introduces the segment by talking about how cool it is to be able to see deleted material that maybe didn't work in the movie but that is funny none the less. We see Lloyd and Harry talk about seatbelts, a bit with Petey the dead bird, a segment with Mary and her parents in Aspen having tea, more of Harry and Lloyd on the road trying to read a map, more footage from the Mexican restaurant, Lloyd and Harry talking to the bell hop at the hotel in Aspen, hair cut footage, tipping at the hotel, their entry to the benefit event for the owl, and finally, some Harry versus Lloyd action from the scene where the kidnapping is finally resolved towards the end of the film.
The Mime: (1:38) A mime at a skating rink entertains people pretending to get his tongue stuck on a ski while Harry sits there, with his tongue really stuck on a metal pole. Mary finds him and tries to help, while Karen Duffy takes a shot at him. Guess who she hits?
Lloyd And Seabass: (3:44) Harry pumps gas while Lloyd relieves himself in the men's room. He reads the note about meeting Seabass, and Seabass comes into the stall looking for manly love. There's some dialogue, Lloyd tries to find his happy place, Harry saves him. It plays out a bit differently than it does in the finished version of the movie and it's cool to be able to see both versions of one of the funniest scenes in the film.R.I.P. Petey: (4:41) Our two heroes grieve for Petey, rant about the state of their lives, and Lloyd decides they should go to Aspen. They argue, then make up, and Harry bawls like a baby over his bird. Again, it's slightly different than the scene in the finished version of the movie, there's some different dialogue here and there, but the differences are quite subtle.
Alternate Ending #1: (2:58) Lloyd and Harry walk downstairs, talk to the bell hop, pack up, only to have the bell hop ask them to stay, offering them a job and a place to stay provided they work with him as bell hops. Lloyd and Harry's reaction is pretty funny, but not as funny as the bell hop's final goodbye to them.
Alternate Ending #2: (1:08) Again, Lloyd and Harry get ready to take off, the bell hop offers them a job and a place to stay, though this time the job entails taking care of his grandson, Billy, the blind boy.
Rounding out the extra features for this disc are two fake trailers for Dumb And Dumber, the real trailer for the film, a television spot, and some promos and trailers for other, unrelated New Line DVD releases.
If you look around, you'll find an Easter Egg (1:50) that explains the origins of the infamous fight scene that takes place in Aspen between Jim Carrey and the Asian cook played by Jesse Borja. It's pretty interesting to hear, through Borja's own words, how Carrey improvised a lot of what you see in that scene.
While it's a shame that neither the Farrelly Brothers or Daniels and Carrey were brought on board for a commentary track, the extras that New Line has supplied for this release are pretty amusing and of fairly decent quality even if there could have been more effort put into fleshing out the documentary a little bit more.Final Thoughts:
With a much improved transfer, better audio, a longer if not all together different cut of the film and some funny and interesting extra features, fans of Dumb And Dumber and the Farrelly Brothers will probably want to snap this one up even if they own the previous release. The movie remains a completely immature and absolutely ridiculous film from start to finish, but it's so blatantly stupid that you can't help but laugh throughout. Highly recommended!