Dumb and Dumber

Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Running Time 101 minutes Commentary Tracks None
RSDL/Flipper No/No Other Extras TV spot
Region 4   Music Video
Distributor Roadshow Home Entertainment    
RRP $34.95    

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan MPEG 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio N/A Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement N/A Soundtrack Languages English
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles None    

Plot Synopsis

    Dumb and Dumber is directed by the Farrelly Brothers (also responsible for Kingpin and There's Something About Mary). It stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunn. Lloyd and Harry are dumb. Really dumb. Lloyd (Jim Carrey) starts off the movie with a job as a limo driver. Harry (Jeff Daniels) starts off the movie with a dog wash/clipping service. His car even looks like a dog.

    Lloyd picks up Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) in the limo to take her to the airport. He immediately falls in love with her. Lauren has gone to the airport to drop off a briefcase full of money as a ransom payment (her husband has been kidnapped - though we don't find this out until later). Lloyd notices that Mary has apparently forgotten her briefcase, and gallantly retrieves it for her, right from under the noses of the kidnappers. Unfortunately, Mary has already left on a plane for Aspen, so Lloyd cannot return the briefcase to her (though he really tries to - ouch). Meanwhile, Harry has been sacked from his doggie job.

    Lloyd and Harry sit around their apartment feeling sorry for themselves, until the kidnappers arrive at their apartment. They mistake the kidnappers for collection agents for the gas company. Accordingly, they escape their apartment until the kidnappers go away (but not before they do something unspeakable to Harry's "parakeet"). Lloyd and Harry then resolve to go to Aspen to return Mary's briefcase to her.

    The road to Aspen is fraught with difficulty and sight gags, and the most annoying sound in the universe (it really is annoying), but they get there eventually only to realize that they don't know where Mary lives. For that matter, they don't even know Mary's second name.

    At this stage, they discover what is in the briefcase (lotsa money), and with the best of intentions, they spend up big, leaving IOUs in the briefcase for any money they take out ("we're good for it"). They find Mary, but Lloyd is too shy to talk to her, so he gets Harry to talk to her instead. Unfortunately for Lloyd, this results in Harry getting a date with Mary the next day. Eventually, Lloyd figures out that Harry has sort-of double crossed him, and so he gets his revenge in a most unfortunate manner.

    Amongst all of this, it turns out that the kidnapper is a trusted family friend of the Swansons and Lloyd and Harry find themselves being held at gunpoint by the kidnapper. Lucky for Harry, he was intercepted by an undercover policewoman who supplied him with a bulletproof jacket and a gun just before encountering the kidnapper. The net result is that the bad guy is arrested, Mary's husband is reunited with her, and Lloyd and Harry hit the road again.

    Dumb and Dumber is a movie which requires you to leave your brain at the door before you watch it. Don't expect anything other than low-brow entertainment with crude toilet humour and some senseless violence and you won't be disappointed. It should give you a bellyfull of laughs.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is from a film element, not an interpositive. Contrast is a problem in several scenes, with little shadow detail and occasional overbright scenes - the scene in which the policeman pulls Lloyd and Harry over is one such scene. The colours are of variable saturation. Initially, they seemed very faded and washed out, but then a little later on in the transfer they seemed oversaturated - so much so that I needed to back off the colour setting on the TV to make the transfer watchable. Early on in the movie, there were several problems with aliasing (shimmering lines) - nothing really bad, but certainly noticeable.

    Oddly, the image quality for approximately the second half of the movie is much better, and I have little complaint about it. The colour balance was better (I returned the colour control back to close to my normal setting) and the contrast was much better. Indeed, the second half of this movie had what I would describe as an excellent video transfer. The early parts of the movie, however, have significant image problems which detract from the overall quality of this DVD.

    An irritation inherent to a transfer from a film element is the presence of the reel change markings (round circles in the upper right corner of the print which signal the projection equipment to switch to a new film reel). They are not as objectionable in a pan & scan transfer as they are in a widescreen transfer since you only partially see the markings, but they were a distraction at times.

    Film grain and scratches were noted occasionally, but not much more than would be expected. I have certainly seen much worse.

    This film is framed as a pan & scan transfer. I have never seen this movie in its theatrical aspect ratio (1.85:1), so I cannot comment on how much is missing in the transfer. There were, however, a significant number of scenes where the framing of the shot was clearly compromised by the pan & scan process. I note that the Region 1 DVD has been released as a dual-sided disc with widescreen (1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced) on one side and pan & scan on the other.


    There are 2 audio tracks; MPEG 2 channel audio and Dolby Digital 2 channel audio. Neither track is surround encoded. As far as I have been able to find out, the original movie appears to have been released in Dolby Digital 5.1. The Region 1 DVD has a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. We appear to have been significantly short-changed with this stereo-only mix.

    Dialogue was occasionally difficult to hear over the music, but generally it was clear and intelligible. I enjoyed the music in the film - it suited the on-screen action and only occasionally got in the way of the dialogue.


    There are several extras on this disc. It contains the theatrical trailer, a TV spot labelled "The Making Of", which is an approximately 10 minute video incorporating clips of the movie interspersed with brief comments from the actors and the directors, and a music video. There is nothing particularly special about these extras, but Roadshow Home Entertainment needs to be commended on the fact that they have at least made an effort to include some extras, unlike Columbia Tristar.


    Leave your brain at the door and you will enjoy this movie. It is good for a mindless belly-laugh, though the variable colour saturation early on in the movie will have you fiddling with the colour setting of your display device until the transfer settles down during the second half. A disc with both widescreen and pan & scan versions would have been better, as would have been a transfer made from an interpositive rather than from a film print. We are also short-changed in the audio department with a stereo mix rather than a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. This disc is just barely acceptable technically - the quality of the second half makes up for the poor transfer quality of the first half.

    If you are interested in this movie, you would have to consider getting the Region 1 DVD over the Region 4 DVD since the Region 1 DVD has both widescreen (1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced) and pan & scan versions on the one disc, and it also has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The Region 4 disc is probably best left for rental only.

Ratings (out of 5)


Michael Demtschyna
8th September 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder AMC AV-81HT Prologic/THX decoder. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer