I think some critics have rather underestimated Jim Carrey, and his very skilled approach to outwardly silly schtick. Not only has he made a lot of films with interesting themes and subtexts, Carrey also works hard to give even his stupidest dumbest characters the right comic attitudes, bringing them to life with deliberate effect.
Carrey has rarely returned to the same role, but it seemed inevitable that Lloyd Christmas would come back again, one day. But why now? What needed to be done to get Dumb And Dumber To right? And what does Carrey think all this messing around is actually about, anyway?We had a little chat last month, about those ideas and more.
Comedy is subjective.
It sure is.
So who is in your mind? Who are you targeting this at? When you’re trying to decide if something is funny or not, who is your benchmark?
Well, first of all, with Dumb And Dumber there’s nothing in my mind. That’s the key. I’m pretty blank when I go in because all that Lloyd thinks about, really, is himself. He loves Harry but when push comes to shove, he’s in it for him.
And he does love Harry.
So how do you and Jeff Daniels work together to get their relationship to come over? Do you get together off set and plan things?
I don’t know if you could nail down a process. Every movie is different for me and my method always changes but with Dumb And Dumber, I get together with the Farrelly Brothers, maybe a month before hand. We sit down and jam on ideas, come up with all sorts of horrifying things that will shock people.
What’s an idea of yours in the film that you can take ownership of?
The dust. The Grangina moment. I’m all about doing things that have never been seen or done before… and the Farrelly Brothers are just mad.
And there’s quite a few other writers on these credits as well. A lot of people chipping in.
Everybody wanted to be a part of this. That’s a great thing about it. Dumb And Dumber has become something that’s part of the fabric of our culture. People literally wouldn’t ever leave me alone about it and that’s why I did the sequel. People hounded me until I decided to do it. It’s really wonderful, though, and the first time we saw the characters coming off the bus in the movie, in all the old clothes, I felt a warm feeling. It was like seeing family that I hadn’t seen in a long while.
So you simply felt that now was the time because people had been asking you for so long?
But was there any condition you had? Is there something this sequel needed to do in order to be worthwhile?
I just felt like the world needed these characters a little bit, you know? I was being called by a lot of world leaders, the summits they were having they were saying “Something’s missing? Why are people in the streets?” It was really mostly fan pressure that led to this film. I don’t know if that really answers your question, but I am making sound and that’s an important thing.
That’s your job.
I’m fairly delirious, folks. [As discussed before the interview recording began, Carrey was rather jet lagged and he was calling back to our chat about that].
I’m particularly fond of your more dramatic stuff, and you’ve tended to make films with big, often existentialist ideas.
I like there to be ideas behind films. Even a lot of the comedies that some people might assume are kind of mindless, they mean something to me. Even Dumb And Dumber, on a certain level, it’s not just about guys who are just going around being dumb there’s something about friendship, and about pre-egoic innocence. You can’t beat these guys because they are completely authentic. That means something to me.
And Liar Liar meant something to me. There’s always something. With Ace Ventura, for example, I thought it was time to blow up the leading man image, make fun of it.
Decimate it. But what do you still want to do? What’s left on your list of things to accomplish?
Oh, good luck!
I think I may have started already.
Thank you, Jim Carrey.