FT Top 100 Films

Plenty of issues are thrown up by this film. Not least how influential it has been for the last ten years of screen comedy. It is clear that the Farrelly Brothers have softened since this their first hit – which is ceaseless mean about its lead characters. It is also interesting to compare a young Jim Carrey with Jeff Daniels and try and see who is actually doing the best comic acting here (Daniels hands down). But the big question who is dumb, and who is dumber.

The evidence. Well Harry (Daniels) seems to have a faster reading speed than Lloyd (Carrey), but this is no direct correlation with intelligence. But then Harry got his tongue frozen to the chair lift which is pretty dumb. Lloyd tends to think up the schemes, which suggests more brains until you consider that none of their schemes work out. A question which when you consider it is perhaps a modern dress version of the central conceit in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.

The Farrelly Brothers have made pains (too much pain some say) of being equal opportunity employers in their films, though they had a lot less power over this one. But for all their boosting of genuine equality for the disabled, Dumb And Dumber stands out as the lynchpin of their work. You can and you should laugh at stupidity. The stupid are not disabled. The stupid are willfully unintelligent, and in this lies their downfall. And since there was no great outcry when this film came out, it is clear that this view is shared by society. And from the films that followed (mainly not by the Farrelly’s) it is a view that on paper makes a lot of people laugh. Most of those films are not as funny as Dumb And Dumber though.