While it may not take the title of worst comedy of the year, the prequel to the idiotic but admittedly laugh out loud funny “Dumb & Dumber” is certainly one of the lightest on laughs. Every minute there’s at least 3-4 attempts made to get a laugh and the sad fact is you’d be struggling to find 3-4 gags which work in the entire film.
With an 80’s setting and visibly low budget, its a wonder how this ever got a theatrical release in the first place as there’s truly nothing here which sets it above the standard of most direct-to-video schlock. Yet maybe because of its simple uselessness, ‘Dumb’ manages to escape the title of worst comedy of the year because its so lightweight that there’s nothing to really get offended by other than boredom – unlike say “Just Married” which itself was offensive full stop.
If there’s one strength to this movie its Eric Christian Olsen. The well-toned but gangly young actor who played the Paul Walker-esque blond rival in “Not Another Teen Movie” and a short role in “24” this season as the ill-fated son of George Mason, may not have the facial expressionism of one Jim Carrey but does have an onscreen charm and knack for fully getting into the physical slapstick.
His onscreen Lloyd is dumb, sure but overall a quite personable fellow unlike Derek Richardson whose Harry is a screeching loud mega-idiot who creates most of his own mess. Normally dynamite comics Eugene Levy and Cheri Oteri are simply awful however as the principal and lunch lady, whilst the subplot of Levy’s scheme and the evidence proving is one of the worst pieces of writing in a film pretty much ever. The script itself does little to build any characters or story – cameos from the likes of Luis Guzman and Mimi Rogers are flat and unfunny.
What are the strengths then? There is one good laugh involving Bob Saget, although its repetition later on is a waste. The score makes clever use of 80’s songs, including one ‘friendship montage’ set to “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” which is worth the odd laugh.
The various special needs students are an interesting mix but very much underused, whilst Rachel Nichols gives it a good go as the lead girl of the piece. Production values are all pretty poor as though none of the crew even bothered to put in any real work. One has to wonder why they bothered with this whole venture in the first place as short of Olsen getting a little attention, there’s pretty much nothing here to stop this from rotting away on video shelves in the near future.