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Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd   C-

New Line Cinema

Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Troy Miller
Writers: Robert Brenner, Troy Miller
Cast: Eric Christian Olsen, Derek Richardson, Luis Guzman, Eugene Levy, Rachel Nichols, Mimi Rogers, Cheri Oteri, Bob Saget.

Review by Sean O'Connell

Making another Dumb and Dumber flick without original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels? That's just... well, dumb. Which is why New Line decided from the get-go that the marquee-busting Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd would be a prequel starring two relatively unknown talents -- Eric Christian Olsen and Derek Richardson -- in the lead roles.

As it turns out, the idea wasn't so dumb, after all. Granted, Dumberer is little more than two outstanding impersonations laced through 85 long minutes of gratuitous and grotesque filler. But the lanky Olsen and glazed-over Richardson mirror Carrey and Daniels with such conviction, you almost don't notice the utter lack of logic in the film's schemes or the occasional dry spells in humor.

Dumb and Dumberer turns the clocks back to 1986, and cranks up a rollicking soundtrack of Foreigner, Survivor and Air Supply to prove it. Young Lloyd (Olsen) lives with his janitor father (Luis Guzman) in the basement of his Providence, RI high school. On the first day of class, he befriends home-school holdover Harry (Richardson) and the strangest combination since peanut butter and Fluff is born.

Had the film stopped there, we could've escaped relatively unharmed yet blessed with a mild chuckle or two. But for reasons unknown, director Troy Miller and his crackerjack staff of scribes felt compelled to scratch out a story, so for long periods of time we must endure Eugene Levy and Cheri Oteri clawing their way through murky plot threads that go nowhere and produce even less.

Levy plays the school's conniving principal, a devious boob who has concocted yet another scheme to bilk the system out of barrels of cash. Using Harry and Lloyd as the prototype, he creates a special needs class in order to secure a grant from the school board. Instead of textbooks and world maps, Principal Collins plans to invest in a Hawaiian condo to share with his lunch lady girlfriend (Oteri). The duo's unscripted scenes surface when Harry and Lloyd need a break from playing elongated rounds of "Tag, you're it." Mostly, they demonstrate how Levy can improvise his way through just about anything, while Oteri is quick to fall back on SNL gags that were old before she left the variety show.

Tiny gems salvage Dumberer from the scrap heap. Gorgeous magazine model Rachel Nichols adds dimensions to her school reporter character that weren't in the script. And Bob Saget's appearance alone earns points, even before he throws his shit fit (literally). The humor here is obvious, at best, and the laughs are more groan-inducers than gut-busters. Not surprisingly, the film references -- or blatantly rips off -- the original whenever it can. I'm not sure you'd consider this a compliment or not, but Dumb and Dumberer does justice to the first Dumb without living up to the potential established by its predecessor.

Review published 06.13.2003.

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