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'Dumb And Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd'

'Dumberer' than you'd think

Friday, June 13, 2003

By Ron Weiskind, Post-Gazette Movie Editor

At least the title's honest. "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd" lives down to its billing.

'Dumb And Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd'

RATING: PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor and language.

STARRING: Eric Christian Olsen, Derek Richardson, Eugene Levy, Cheri Oteri.

DIRECTOR: Troy Miller.


The movie shows how the two idiots from the 1994 comedy "Dumb and Dumber" met as teenagers, became friends and, through pure dumb luck, helped foil an embezzlement plot by the high-school principal (portrayed, inevitably, by Eugene Levy).

If you've seen the trailer or TV ads, you've seen the most intriguing thing about the movie -- the two lead actors, who transform themselves into remarkable teenage likenesses of the actors in the original film.

Derek Richardson -- blond, plump and vacant -- takes the Jeff Daniels role of Harry. Eric Christian Olsen, who normally sports blond hair and a strong physique, almost seems to be channeling Jim Carrey as the young Lloyd with his black hair and bowl cut, expressively shifty eyes and rubber mouth.

These guys act like morons, no doubt about it, but their utter innocence (and the skill of the performers) almost makes them likable -- unlike, say, Adam Sandler's puling manchild in "Billy Madison."

The biggest joke may be that most of the adults act about as stupidly as Harry and Lloyd. The beetle-browed Principal Collins (Levy's eyebrows are as thick as his mustache) and his lover Ms. Heller (Cheri Oteri) plan to embezzle a $100,000 grant given to schools that have special-needs programs. Well, who has more special needs than Harry and Lloyd?

But school newspaper reporter Jessica Matthews (Rachel Nichols), a drop-dead beautiful blonde who favors tight sweaters and short skirts, guesses the scheme and befriends Harry and Lloyd to get the goods on Collins. The guys have no clue, including how to act around girls, but that doesn't stop them from fantasizing.

Typical of the "humor" in the movie is a scene where Harry sits on a radiator in Jessica's room (he thinks she's the reason he's getting hot), forgetting about the chocolate bar in his pocket. He goes into the bathroom and gets chocolate all over everything. Jessica's father (Bob Saget) thinks it's something else and goes berserk.

Director Troy Miller (commercials, short films and the best-forgotten Michael Keaton movie "Jack Frost") structures the movie to fit his attention span -- one bit leading to the next, like a series of skits. Does it really matter if they flow? You just sit there slack-jawed, wondering how long 80 minutes can last and grateful whenever Olsen and Richardson string together enough non-sequitors to achieve absurdity, which is one step up from inane, which is one step up from "Dumb and Dumberer."

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