Opens: Now playing
The pitch: This Dumb & Dumber prequel flashes back to 1986 when Lloyd (Not Another Teen Movie's Eric Christian Olsen) and Harry (newcomer Derek Richardson) meet on the first day of high school. Together they unwittingly start a bogus "special needs class" and stumble upon the scams of their evil principal (Eugene Levy).
Better than the original?: Duh. Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and the Farrelly Brothers have nothing to do with it. Neither of the leads have any aptitude for comedy, although Olsen attempts a clipped, piping delivery that sort of sounds like Jim Carrey. The trailer's Lord of the Rings fake-out gets a bigger laugh than anything in the film.
Money shots: Harry sips a slushee too fast, and we go microscopically inside his head to see his "brain-freeze" headache. There's also a moment of zero gravity inside the school's "short bus" when it leaps through the air during a car chase. When Levy's villainous principal gets snagged by a parade float's pirate hook, it's so lame and anti-climactic that you laugh at it, not with it.
Fashion statements: Lloyd's Moe Howard bowl haircut. Harry's V-necked sweaters adorned with owls and teddy bears. Vest and pants made from white polar bear fur.
Flesh factor: A glimpse or two of butt crack. A tame trip to the girls' locker room. Lloyd fantasizes about Harry's would-be girlfriend (Rachel Nichols, not convincing as a smart person) and hot mother (poor Mimi Rogers) in bikinis, making out in a grotto.
Local color: The film takes place in Providence, R.I., but was shot in the Atlanta area. During the car chase, you can tell they're driving back and forth across the same Marietta streets.
Hit single: The Beat Farmers' catchy "Happy Boy" accompanies Lloyd riding down the sidewalk on a floor-waxer. Otherwise, the soundtrack consists of '80s anthems from the likes of Survivor, Air Supply and Hall & Oates.
Pop references: The united misfits in the special-needs class cater to fans of Animal House rip-offs like Up the Academy. The low I.Q. twosome walks past the corner of "Stan and Oliver," but they're not even in the league of Bill and Ted, let alone Laurel and Hardy.
Bottom line: Only deadpan-geek character actor Brian Posehn emerges with timing and dignity intact as the dimwitted duo's convenience store nemesis. Otherwise, the film's bad execution of worse jokes leaves you numb and numberer.