There’s not a lot of brain work involved in Dumb & Dumber, a flat-out celebration of stupidity, bodily functions and pratfalls. Yet the wholeheartedness of this descent into crude and rude humor is so good-natured and precise that it’s hard not to partake in the guilty pleasures of the exercise.
Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) is a rather inept dog groomer who has transformed his van exterior to resemble a sheep dog. Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey), who resembles a latter-day Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, is a limo driver who’s saving to open a worm supply warehouse.
When Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) enters Lloyd’s limo for a ride to the airport, his heart flies out the sun roof. As he pulls away, he notices that his charge has left her briefcase right in the middle of the terminal. Ever gallant, he retrieves it, but not quite in time to get it aboard Mary’s flight to Aspen.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure where the story is going. The slight variation is that Mary doesn’t want the valise; it’s filled with $100,000 in ransom money that her husband’s kidnappers are supposed to retrieve.
The entire affair escapes the gutter thanks to Daniels, Carrey, Holly and a string of very good supporting players. Daniel is particularly adroit in his role. Tyro filmmaker Peter Farrelly (who also co-wrote) displays a natural flair for comedy and pacing.