Dumb and Dumber
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dumb and Dumber is unapologetically crass. The Farrelly Brothers deliver nonstop, gut-churning laughs for adults as well as kids; however, parents of preteens should be advised of slapstick violence and moderate sexual content. It's your call, parents, as to whether you want your preteens seeing this. The PG-13 rating -- for comedic violence, explosive bowels, and sexual situations -- is a sound recommendation for your supervision. Teenagers will laugh themselves sore. Adults who believe they're above this sort of thing may find themselves pleasantly mistaken.
What's the story?
Imbecile roommates Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) give up their low-profile jobs and their dreams of opening a worm store to track down a lovely acquaintance of Lloyd's named Mary (Lauren Holly) and return to her the briefcase she left at the airport. Little do they know that Mary ditched the case on purpose, that it's full of ransom money, and that the pair of thugs sent to retrieve it are hot on their tail. Bumbling along in a van revamped to look like a sheepdog, Lloyd and Harry avoid being murdered several times over by sheer dumb luck. They arrive in Aspen, find Mary, and become entangled in a clumsy kidnapping plot, but the true test of their friendship comes when the two friends enter into a competition for the same girl's affection.
Is it any good?
Brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly elevate bodily fluid humor to as high a level as low art can climb. They know what's funny, and they throw it on the screen regardless of how vulgar or political incorrect it is. There's a gleefulness in that for adults -- it's like being back on the elementary school playground, laughing at somebody making rude noises with a hand cupped to his armpit. Few teens will have trouble surrendering to its raw charm.
Jeff Daniels, from whom we don't expect this kind of behavior, is impressively moronic in one of the two title roles. Jim Carrey is restrained just enough to keep us wanting more, and shows glimpses of the acting ability that would win him critical praise for The Truman Show. The movie only really fails when it abandons its stars in pursuit of a lame kidnapper/hitman subplot. If it loses gas altogether at the end, that should be expected of something propelled by so much gas early on.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about why the main characters' antics are funny on film but inappropriate in real life.