June 27, 2012

Last week, Jim Carrey announced that he would be pulling out of Dumb and Dumber To, the sequel (I am choosing to conveniently forget about Dumb and Dumberer) to the 1994 megahit and cultural benchmark Dumb and Dumber.

Carrey starred alongside Jeff Daniels in the Farrelly brothers comedy about two dopes who take a cross country roadtrip in a van that looks like a dog, all to return a briefcase to a woman Carrey’s character Lloyd is in love with. Along the way they unwittingly foil a kidnapping plot, kill a mobster (and a rare spotted owl), and get robbed by a little old lady on a motorized cart– and he didn’t even see it coming!

Dumb and Dumber is one of those movies that holds a soft spot in the hearts of all who worked on it, starred in it, and saw it. It was a comedy so brainless that it felt smart, so funny it looked easy. And so it was, that earlier this year when rumors began swirling that a sequel could be in the works nearly two decades after the original premiered, fans of all ages took notice. But, just as hopes began to rise amid rumors that Jim, Jeff, and the brothers Farrelly were all committed to a sequel, problems arose. Finally, among months of stalling and wavering, Carrey’s announcement seems to have sealed the fate of Lloyd and Harry.

This is where the dilemma comes in. As a fan, when you hear “sequel,” “prequel,” “reboot,” or “reimagining,” two very distinct and divergent thoughts immediately flood into you brain: The first of which is joy. "Huzzah! Another Dumb and Dumber movie, and with the original cast to boot! I loved the first one so much. The next is surely going to be awesome!" The second thought - Fear. Utter fear and trepidation that the movie that you so often quote, reference, and cite in any bar room trivia scenario, could be, if not sullied, possibly ruined by the possibility of a perceived sub-par sequel. Will the joy outweigh the fear? Or will the fear scare the stars/studio/producers/writers into dropping the project?

Well folks, we see in this scenario that the fear has taken New Line and Warner Brothers down. According to Entertainment Tonight, in explaining his decision to abandon the sequel, Jim Carrey lamented, “I would have thought 'Dumb and Dumber To'was a no-brainer," he said. "After all, it's implied in the title." It has been reported that Carrey grew “increasingly frustrated by New Line and Warner Brothers, who he felt showed a lack of enthusiasm regarding the project.” This “lack of enthusiasm” manifested itself in the form of stalls and scheduling delays, having been originally set to start shooting in the fall. Carrey’s co-star, Jeff Daniels, recently stated on the red carpet for his premiere of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, that “Nobody’s doing it without Jim.”

I have to say, the fan in me was quite sad to hear this news. It’s true, I am traditionally skeptical of the long-awaited sequel; but in this case, I feel like the 18 year gap was more than enough time to rise past an awkward 5-7 years, plateau through a “does anyone still care” 10-12 years, and rise from the ashes like a phoenix with a “holy cow wouldn’t it be epic if they did a sequel” 15+ years. In imagining aDumb and Dumber To, I smiled at the possibility of these poor shlubs circling the senior citizens table. Would they have kids? Would they have opened that worm store? Would Sea Bass finally catch up to them?

I feel like there were so many places to go that the possibilities seemed endless. But, once again, the fear scared away the possibility of something genuinely great. With the massive talents of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, there was almost no way that the legacy of Dumb and Dumber would be in anything but fantastic hands. But, then again, what do I know? I’m not a movie executive. But I will tell you one thing - if I were, this movie would be on the fast track… and John Carter would have gone in the trash been where it belongs.


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