Dumb and Dumber (1994) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The 1.3 gap between Dumb & Dumber's male score at IMDb (6.9) and its female score (5.6) is the highest such gap of any film I can name. If Dirty Dancing is the queen of the chick-flicks, Dumb and Dumber is the king of the dick-flicks. I recommend it strongly if you are young, with the additional caveat that you must also have a dick. (That is called the Dick Caveat.)

Of all the films I can think of in the last decade or so, this one not only has the widest gender gap, but probably also the widest generation gap. Check out the demographics:


  Men Women
below18 7.7 6.3
18-29 7.2 5.9
30-44 6.3 5.0
45+ 5.1 4.8

By generating exceptional scores among males under 18, and dipping below 5.0 with older women, Dumb and Dumber is the anti-Beaches.  If you are attacked by SuperMidler and SuperCher, you could use this film as Kryptonite. Here's a tip for you younger guys - this is not the film to use if you want to bond with mom.

Since this comedy's generation gap is actually stronger than its gender gap, and since I am a man over 45, I should theoretically like it far less than my son and his friends do, and even less than my daughter and her friends like it. That is basically accurate. The girls like Dumb and Dumber, but they don't love it. The guys outright worship it. When I talk about films with young guys who like films, we can usually come to cross-generational agreement. When the topic turns to "best sports films," they grant me Hoosiers, and I grant them Remember the Titans; when "best Westerns" comes up, I grant them Tombstone, and they give me The Good the Bad and the Ugly; but when we turn to "best comedies," the battle gets more contentious. They like Duck Soup and Blazing Saddles, and I like South Park and Old School and There's Something About Mary, so we make our standard concessions, and then the topic turns to Dumb and Dumber. This is the one film they usually pick as the single funniest comedy ever made! I just can't see that.

It is a very funny film with some moments of sheer inspiration. I love the playful snowball fight where Harry doesn't know how to play-fight with a girl and ends up pounding her face into the snow, and I love some of the dialogue:

When Harry discusses how he lost his true love:

So why did she break up with you?
Something about not listening to her or some shit like that. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention, but ...

A philosophical overview of the man they killed by pranking his food:

Life is a fragile thing, Har. One minute you're chewin' on a burger, the next minute you're dead meat.
But he blamed me. You heard him. Those were his last words.
No. Not if you count the gurgling sound.

Deciding where to go:

 ... a place where the beer flows like wine, where the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talkin' about Aspen.
I don't know Lloyd, the French are assholes.

Are we almost there yet?

How far have we gone?
(Consulting map.) About an inch and a half
How much farther?
(Expands map) About two feet.
Man, if we don't buy a smaller map we'll never make it.

When they accidentally end up in the Midwest instead of Colorado and behold flat land into the boundless horizon:

I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.
I was thinking the same thing.
That John Denver is full of shit, man.

On gambling - an exchange worthy of Groucho and Chico:

I'll bet you twenty dollars I can get you gambling before the day is out!
I'll give you three to one odds.
Five to one.
Ten to one?
You're on!
I'm gonna get ya!
Nu uh!
Yup, I don't know how but I'm gonna get ya.

In fact, now that I start to think about the film, I remember so many funny things that I think, "maybe it is one of the funniest of all time." Then I re-watch it, and it fails me. Some great stuff, but too many unfunny, obvious, drawn-out scenes about bodily functions, too many drawn-out games of tag ... gags that would have been funny if they had been shorter and had appeared less frequently.

You know what? In the long run, it doesn't matter what us old farts think of this movie because this same struggle plays out in every generation. It is a perennial curse of the film industry that the critics and academy members are women and old guys while the actual filmgoers are young men. As a result, hit comedies which target young men take a generation to become recognized as critical successes. If you look at the contemporary reviews for Blazing Saddles, you'll see that the critics generally lambasted it as tasteless, juvenile, and sophomoric. (As if those were bad things!) Nobody would ever realize it if you took excerpts from those reviews and slid them onto the Dumb and Dumber page at Metacritic. Yet young men, as even I was in that dimly-remembered time, loved Blazing Saddles and made it a big hit. A generation later, all of that culture gap is forgotten because the young men who loved Blazing Saddles have now grown up and become the  movie critics. The new crop of young men still love it, so the film is a now a revered comedy classic.

Dumb and Dumber will get there as well, but it is not there yet. Too soon. Wait until those guys now in their twenties get the reviewing jobs.

The new unrated DVD is pretty much just more of the same. The expanded feature is six minutes longer than the theatrical version, and there are also some additional scenes in the "deleted/alternate" footage. There is some duplication between those two sections, but altogether you may see about fifteen minutes worth of new footage. Why is some footage still not restored to the expanded version? Some of the still-deleted items are pretty funny, but they include sub-plots that slowed the film down, lines cut to keep a PG-13, or alternate ideas that could not co-exist with the retained footage.

The only other "extra" of note is a new featurette in which the cast and creators of the film look back from today.



  • 2 Alternate Endings
  • 9 Deleted or Alternate Scenes
  • Retrospective Documentary
  • TV Spot & Theatrical Trailers
  • See above



Lauren Holly shows most of her bum when Jim Carrey lifts her skirt in a dream sequence

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus out of four stars: one and a half   stars. James Berardinelli 1.5/4, Roger Ebert 2/4, BBC 2/5.

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. A major money-maker. Made for $17 million, it grossed $127 million in the USA and $120 million overseas.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C+, a comedy classic which is somewhat narrowly targeted at young men. If you are a male under 30 and have not seen it, do so, because you are likely to love it. Others beware.

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