Dumb and Dumber
By Mike Derderian
The following is a story a circus ringmaster once told me about an elephant, who refused to perform one evening because it believed that it was being scammed and not paid enough peanuts.
“I am an elephant therefore I’m paid peanuts,” the grumbling elephant told the unimpressed ringmaster. “Humphrey, would it hurt you if I received an extra amount of peanuts for the stupid things I do. Would you jump through a burning hoop for a bag of measly peanuts at the end of the week?” asked the elephant.
“But Louie, they raised oil prices and I can no longer afford roasted peanuts. You must understand that. I mean look at poor Burt, the seal. He now has to eat his paycheck raw. Can you imagine the taste of uncooked fish,” Humphrey replied in a note of sorrow.
A clown overhearing the conversation reproached the elephant for his uncooperative attitude. “Bouts of existential trivialities still haunt my mind even though I make people laugh every night I’m in the ring. The images of children begging in the streets and old men and women searching for alms in dumpsters suffocate my soul,” yelled out the tearful clown.
“We are all clowns in a world manipulated by lion tamers and filled with harbingers of death, who feed on the carcasses of those poor people and here you are on strike for a few peanuts more. You are so dumb, my friend,” the clown scornfully said.
If the elephant was dumb, the clown was dumber, because the next day headlines in newspapers read: “Clown stomped to death by a rampaging elephant” and “Elephant tells all to CNN reporter: He called me Dumbo therefore I killed him.”
Never argue with a five-ton male Indian elephant, but if you are anything like Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) in Dumb and Dumber then the best you can do is forget about it and have a nice life.
All the people living on the surface of this crummy world believe that they are surrounded by dumb incompetent individuals, hence the clichéd movie phrase, “I’m surrounded by idiots.” Well, in Peter Farrelly’s 1994 stupendously hilarious movie the list came down to two people: Lloyd and Harry.
Dumb and Dumber was not only funny but its phenomenal success generated a tidal wave of road-trip-films that would submerge the movie industry in upcoming years. Some movies were more banal than funny but they all served the same purpose and proved that stupid can be funny.
Lloyd and Harry are two yuppies, who like to spend their time drifting through life. The operatus mundi for those guys is so simple: Food. On occasions they dream of the perfect girl and have high hopes on finding the true love of their life but since they are so stupid they wouldn’t find a girl even if she was sitting with them on the same table.
The film also stars Mike Starr, Karen Duffy, Charles Rocket, Victoria Rowell and Lauren Holly as Mary Swanson, a dashing lady who becomes the center of Lloyd and Harry’s attention.
One of those days, and during their aimless existence, they bump into Mary (Holly) and this is when their luck is about to change. She is on her way to Aspen, Colorado, but without knowing she misplaces a suitcase full of money, which is found by… yes, Lloyd and Harry.
Both men driven by chivalry decide to travel all the way to Snowy Aspen on a motorbike.
Wait, who are we kidding here, they only want to return the suitcase to Mary just to impress her and fulfill whatever pathetic day fantasies they have when they meet her again. This reminds us of half the male population in this country, who are willing to do anything for a girl.
The film’s success comes as a result of Carrey’s and Daniels’ brilliant performance and on-screen chemistry. Without Jim Carrey there wouldn’t be Lloyd Christmas and so is the case regarding Harry Dunne.
Dumb and Dumber is more slapstick than a comedy of words as evident in Carrey’s matchless performance. Carrey, who is dubbed by many “the actor with the elastic face and body,” is probably the best facial comedian of this century.
Jeff Daniels’s performance was as impressive as Carey’s. His laid-back, calm and dull portrayal of Harry, the sleuth he is, earned him the title of the tame one opposite Carrey’s Lloyd, who certainly was the wild impulsive geek with a very bad haircut in this 101 minute film.
As the film approaches its end, Farrelly’s not-so-complicated plot begins to reveal itself despite of his attempt to pull a fast one on the audience. The end will remind us of a scene from the 1944 The Princess and the Pirate, when Sylvester the Great (Bob Hope) reaches out to Princess Margaret (Virginia Mayo) thinking that he is the lucky fellow, who will receive a kiss for his chivalrous deeds. Guess what? Bing Crosby turns up and gets the wholesome kiss. That’s not fair if you ask me but that’s life.
Must-see-scenes: Lloyd vs. Chinese chef at the restaurant (kung fu is brilliantly ridiculed by Carrey), Harry licking an iced bar on the skating hill, Lloyd and Harry’s painful experience at the beauty shop and the “I want to go first” scene when Nicolas Andre (Rocket) threatens to kill Lloyd and Harry.