Dumb and Dumber

(1994) *** Pg-13
106 min. New Line Cinema. Directors: Peter Farrelly, Gerald T. Olson (II). Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Mike Starr, Karen Duffy.

/content/films/3293/7.jpgThe Farrelly Brothers (Bobby and Peter, that is) launched their career with a little movie called Dumb and Dumber. And their work has never been fresherer. The Farrellys' knack for stupid, Three Stooges-esque comedy writ larger by an infusion of heart excels with the complementary screen teaming of manic Jim Carrey and consummate screen actor Jeff Daniels.

The heart is apparent from the opening shot, locating the film on "Hope Street." In Providence, Rhode Island, roommates Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) don't have a lot to be hopeful about. Rejected by society, girls, and employers, the doofus duo has little to lose when erstwhile limo driver Lloyd suggests a road trip to Aspen in pursuit of the attractive Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly), ostensibly to return her briefcase but chiefly to give the burned Lloyd another shot with her. Unbeknownst to Lloyd and Harry, Mary purposefully left the briefcase behind, as it contains a ransom payment for a kidnapped family member. With a couple of dangerous hoods (Mike Starr and Karen Duffy) on the friends' tails, you better believe hijinks will ensue.

The Farrellys direct confidently (though Bobby's direction here goes uncredited) from a script by Peter, Bobby, and Bennett Yellin. Dumb and Dumber works because of its simple yet brilliant hook of two barely functioning idiots getting into trouble. Carrey and Daniels, the former in a bowl cut and the latter under a shaggy mane, throw themselves into their work, and they're truly a sight in matching orange and powder-blue tuxes (with top hats and canes) at the Aspen Preservation Society Snow Owl Benefit. It would be criminal to reveal too many of the various comic set pieces, but suffice it to say there's fart-lighting and crotch-punching, a hilarious game of "It" in the car (with top-notch straight man Starr in the middle), and a bathroom scene involving "Turbo Lax" that forever establishes Daniels as a fearless actor.

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Aspect ratios: 1.85:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1

Street date: 12/9/2008

Distributor: Warner Home Video

Warner preserves New Line's 2005 Platinum Series DVD in a brand-new unrated Blu-ray edition. Aside from a bit of Digital Noise Reduction that reduces detail, the hi-res image is a noticeable improvement over its standard-def DVD counterpart. Certainly the hi-res audio is a major upgrade for home-theater buffs from the theatrical stereo track: Warner provides both Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mixes that are more than effective for this comedy. The 113-minute unrated cut features alternate takes and added footage.

The retrospective featurette "Still Dumb After All These Years" (18:35, SD) gathers Jeff Daniels, Jesse Borja, Brady Bluhm, Karen Duffy, Mike Starr, the late Charles Rocket, Cam Neely, Victoria Rowell, Harland Williams, and producers Charles B. Wessler, Brad Krevoy, and Steven Stabler to reminisce about the film's making. Notably absent are Jim Carrey and the Farrellys, but Daniels picks up the slack.

Twelve "Additional Scenes" (33:55 with "Play All" option, SD) include a montage introduced by Daniels and two alternate endings. It's an uncommonly good selection of cutting-room-floor footage with plenty of good laughs.

Four featurettes labelled Deliriously Dumb Moments focus on specific scenes from the film. "The Toilet Scene" (2:20, SD) finds Daniels recalling his "moving" moment; Borha describes being the "Kung Fu Chef" (1:51, SD) opposite Carrey; Rowell and Daniels discuss his "Big Fire Stunt" (2:02, SD); and Starr and Daniels chat about the "Most Annoying Sound" (1:32, SD).

A selection of Trailers kicks off with two amusing fakes: "Dumb Trailer" (1:51, SD) and "Dumber Trailer" (1:54, SD), then moves on to "Actual Trailer" (2:09, SD) and "Actual TV Spot" (1:00, SD). Fans can rest assured that the Blu-ray is the best available edition of Dumb and Dumber.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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