There are many endearing and irresistible charms buried beneath the grotesqueries of a Bobby and Peter Farrelly film. Sans Dumb & Dumber’s entire creative life force, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that New Line’s Dumb and Dumberer allows the lame gross-out to trump all romantic poignancy. In Shallow Hal, the Farrellys remarkably nurtured the film’s one-joke premise for nearly two hours. Conversely, Dumb and Dumberer is so burdened by its time constraint (the film clocks in at a near endless 82 minutes) that any of its self-devouring gags quickly reach their expiration way before their all-too-familiar payoffs are announced. The filmmakers humorlessly rework Dumb and Dumber’s famous toilet break with chocolate-on-the-walls and have a surprisingly fresh-looking Bob Saget scream “shit” over and over again, as if the fact that his character is anal retentive wasn’t already enough. Criminal plots, romances and jealousies are introduced (and subsequently negotiated) in a matter of seconds. Save for a series of amusing gay jokes and a bizarre game of tag Harry (Derek Richardson) and Lloyd (an insane Eric Christian Olsen, whose loyalty to his character must count as the film’s one mitigating factor) play inside a convenient store, this witless freak show is so toneless it seems to have been put together at random. Director Troy Miller (Run Ronnie Run!) shows little confidence behind the camera and merely contents himself with a series of lame framing devices and numbingly literal visual effects. (Would the Farrelly Brothers ever have the audacity to evoke a brain freeze using corny CGI?) Miller begins and ends the film with a point-of-view shot that actively redefines the term “prequel”—not that the film has one clever or self-reflexive bone in its entire body, but it does seem to acknowledge that it’s merely a prenatal approximation of a more full-bodied specimen.
One of the worst films of 2003, Dumb and Dumberer is also one of the ugliest looking. That said, the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen treatment the film gets on this DVD is impressive through and through. Save for some minor edge enhancement and an occasional edginess, colors are sharp, shadow delineation is excellent and blacks are rock solid. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is equally solid despite the film’s original sound design being relatively unimpressive.
New Line’s dedication to draw attention away from the awfulness of Dumb and Dumberer by making the film’s DVD as dopey and interactive as possible is certainly admirable. Most DVDs make you work to find the Easter Eggs. It makes sense, then, that this Dumb and Dumberer disc all but clicks on them for you, because the retardation of the hunt is meant to parallel the lunacy of the film’s characters. It’s a cute touch that’s matched only by the sweetness of some of the eggs’ contents (my favorite: "A Gorgeous Baby Crashes the Makeup Tests"). In the set-up section, you can simulate what it’s like to watch the film in various speeds and from different positions: "Extended Movie Mode," "Jiffy Mode," and "Pillow Mode." Not surprisingly, the All Access Pass features are nowhere near as fun. The "Dumb and Dangerous" making-of documentary is pretty vanilla, lamely combining elements of MSTK3 and VH1’s Pop-Up Video to hide the fact that there isn’t much to talk about here. Much more fun is the "Casting the Perfect Dummies" documentary, which accumulates footage of actors who auditioned for the lead roles and how many of them, including Shia LaBeouf, ended up snagging other roles instead. In the "Lost & Found" section, you can check out nine deleted scenes under "Dumb" and a short featurette under "Dumberer" that combines interviews with blooper material (and proves without a doubt that LaBeouf’s mother is permanently attached to the kid). As for the commentaries, I don’t know what’s worse: the banality of Troy Miller, Eric Christian Olsen and Derek Richardon’s track or the two dreadfully unfunny mini-commentaries by "film critics Samuel Shaver and Thompson Jennings" and "the Ciccone family." Rounding out the disc is the teaser and theatrical trailer for Dumb and Dumberer, and trailers for the original film, The Mask and Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Embarrassed to buy this DVD? Don’t worry, it can’t be any worse than having to review it.