After 17 years of home-tutoring, less-than-bright teenager Harry finally gets to go to high school, where he finds a kindred spirit in equally brainless janitor's son, Lloyd. Soon they're heading up the school's 'special needs' class - but the whole thing is merely a front for their principal to pull off a major fraud...
For all its sheer stupidity, the original Dumb & Dumber was one of the best comedies of the '90s, delivering gut-busting moments a-plenty yet still managing to retain a certain goofy charm behind the toilet gags and pratfalls. Any memories of this belated prequel, on the other hand, are unlikely to endure beyond the closing credits. For while Dumb & Dumberer isn't totally bereft of laughs, it boasts none of the joie de vivre or energy that made the original so special. Rather, it feels more like a decidedly mediocre high school comedy that is hoping to get by on the strength of familiar characters and some fresh spins on some of its predecessor's more memorable sequences.
To their credit, Olsen and Richardson do pass muster as younger versions of the Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels double act (Olsen is particularly credible, even sounding like Carrey did in the original). Between them, thanks to their continued child-like innocence and inability to grasp the complexities of the real world, they manage to squeeze a smattering of laughs from the material. But the plot, revolving around the efforts of their high school principal (Levy) to embezzle funds out of a grant set up for 'special needs' classes, feels horribly laboured.
Much of the humour is dependent on re-enacting old Dumb & Dumber set-pieces (Harry having yet another bathroom mishap, the pair both falling for the same girl) which were so much funnier when given the Farrelly Brothers treatment. Of course it's possible to make a decent sequel (or prequel, for that matter) without any original cast members, but rarely have the original stars of a film felt so sorely missed as they have here. By the time the hapless Richardson gets around to accidentally covering Nichols' bathroom in chocolate (a gag even less amusing when it's repeated later on), you'll almost be willing Daniels to walk in and stick his tongue to a lamppost.
The leads do their best, but ultimately this is just another run-of-the-mill teen comedy that happens to have a few more credentials than some of its peers. Approach with caution.