I really wanted to like Dumb and Dumber To. The first one –which came out twenty years ago- was gross, weirdly sweet and full of catchphrases still quoted today (“so there is a chance!” is a classic).

Sadly, the sequel misses more than scores. As ridiculous as the original was, the demented script unfolded smoothly. Dumb and Dumber To stalls at every corner and comedic ideas are forced into the plot so clumsily, they only work half as well as they should.

The framing plot is not terrible, if designed mostly to get the characters back on the road. After spending two decades in a mental facility as a gag Lloyd (Jim Carrey) joins Harry (Jeff Daniels) in the search for his daughter, whose existence he was unaware of. Time is pressing as Harry is in need of a new kidney.  Of course the task takes twice as long thanks to Lloyd unfounded self-confidence and Harry’s off-the-charts obliviousness.

In spite of the mediocre script (basically, a washed up version of the original material), Carrey and Daniels go out of their way to make it work. The chemistry is there, and a few times they manage to generate some belly laughs. Kathleen Turner is the butt of a number of cruel jokes, yet she gets more to do than usual and delivers the single human performance of the entire movie.

Six writers (including the once sharp Farrelly brothers) took to deliver a screenplay so poor, even the recycled pranks are weak (the very last one is an embarrassment). Too bad, considering the franchise could have reached its full potential in more competent hands.

One and a half easily amused prairie dogs. Dumb and Dumber To opens today.