Smart Move? "Dumb and Dumber" Sequel Cancelled

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema
July 2nd, 2012

Smart Move? "Dumb and Dumber" Sequel Cancelled

-- The 1994 movie "Dumb and Dumber" starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels was a surprise hit for Peter and Bobby Farrelly (better known as the Farrelly brothers), who wrote and directed it. It was the cap to a banner year for Carrey, who broke out in a big way that same year with "The Mask" and "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." It was a breakout comedy for Daniels, who had been doing mostly dramas like "Gettysburg" and "Speed" right before it.

Despite the fact that critics tore the film to shreds in their reviews, the growing star power of Carrey managed to bring the film great box-office success. Normally, when a film does this well, it is only a matter of time before the movie studio begins lining up the actors to return for a sequel. A second film, usually not as good as the first, is generally pumped out within two or three years. That wasn't quite what happened with "Dumb and Dumber," though.

There had been talk of a sequel for years, but for various reasons, one didn't happen. The Farrelly brothers had a string of hits that included "There's Something About Mary" and had several other irons on the fire at the time. Carrey was now a bona fide movie star and also had lots of projects and very little spare time. Though all expressed interest in a sequel, the timing never seemed to be right.

In 2003, "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd" was released. It was not that much-anticipated sequel but instead a prequel that told the story of how the two main characters met. It starred unknown actors Derek Richardson and Eric Christian Olsen in the title roles. In order to give it some star power, comedy veterans Eugene Levy and Bob Saget were added to the mix along with Luis Guzman and Mimi Rogers. Though all four are great actors, they could not save the mess of a movie that tanked both critically and at the box office.

Fans of the original felt betrayed that New Line Cinema would put out such a garbage movie, which was nowhere near as funny as the first. However, part of the reason it did not have the same charm or wit was because it was done without the participation of the Farrelly brothers. Carrey and Daniels were also not in the prequel, which took place years before the setting of the original film.

After "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd," most thought that was the end of the franchise. Few series could possibly recover from such a horrid misfire. Of course, with the big name that Jim Carrey is, if he expressed interest in a sequel, there is a chance that it could happen. In 2010, there was some buzz that a sequel could be made.

By 2011, the buzz reached a fever pitch, even though the Farrelly brothers were knee deep in their "The Three Stooges" update. Carrey and Daniels formally agreed to reprise their roles as Harry and Lloyd, and the brothers agreed to come on as directors and producers. Because of their ongoing work on "The Three Stooges," they would not have time to develop a screenplay, though. The studio was fine with this, hiring writers Sean Anders and John Morris. They had both previously worked with Carrey on "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and had a hand in writing "Hot Tub Time Machine."

With a great comedy-writing duo and the two stars on board, it seemed nothing could stop the film from going forward. It was put into preproduction and even got a clever title: "Dumb and Dumber To."

Then, very suddenly, Jim Carrey bowed out of the film. Fans were crestfallen over his departure, which spelled the end of pre-production on the film. Though the studio could replace Carrey, fans would likely revolt. It would be very tough for any actor to come in and fill Carrey's manic shoes. Both he and Daniels have since announced new projects in place of the sequel.

Carrey said that the reason he left was that he felt that Warner Bros. and New Line, the studios backing the project, "showed a lack of enthusiasm." Though he would not go into details, perhaps the studios were worried that the sequel would suffer the same terrible fate as "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd." Perhaps they didn't like Carrey's high asking price for doing a film, or maybe Carrey was just imagining things. No matter the reason, perception is reality, and if Carrey thought the studio wasn't behind the film, that is the only impetus he needed to leave, taking with him the hopes of Lloyd and Harry fans everywhere.

Tags: Jim Carrey