According to the Farrelly brothers, Jeff Daniels wasn't wanted for the film, but Jim Carrey wanted him in it. In order to ensure a no from him, they offered Daniels $50,000 for the role. He accepted without any hesitation nor did he attempt to negotiate, despite insistence from his agent the film would "kill his career." By 1994, the film was Daniels' most successful.
Jim Carrey was initially offered $700,000 to appear in the film. However, the offer went in the same week when Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) opened at number 1 in the US box office, so by the time Carrey's agents had renegotiated with the film's producers, his salary had upped itself to $7 million, almost half the film's budget.
During filming, Jim Carrey stayed the night at the Stanley Hotel and requested to stay in the infamous room 217 (see Stephen King's: The Shining). According to the tour guide at the hotel, about three hours after Carrey went to sleep, he came running out of the room and left the hotel. To this day, he vows to never go back and won't tell anybody why.
When the film went to the top of the US box office, it gave Jim Carrey the distinction of being the first actor to have three films go straight to number one in one year (those films being this, The Mask (1994), and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)).
The hotel, bar and Lamborghini scenes were shot at The Historical Stanley Hotel in Estes Park CO. The "We landed on the moon" photo in the bar remains on the wall. The Stanley was the inspiration for Stephen King's The Shining.
Jeff Daniels claimed he was at a golf course one day when Clint Eastwood told him that he had just seen the movie. Daniels braced himself for a negative reaction, but to his surprise Eastwood wanted to tell Daniels that the bathroom scene had happened to him once when he was on a date. Daniels later co-starred with Eastwood in Blood Work (2002).
According to Jeff Daniels, none of the scenes between Jim Carrey and himself were filmed during the first week of production because the studio was fully prepared to replace him in the role, even going so far as to have a comedian on standby waiting to take the role. However, after viewing the dailies and constant insistence from Carrey that a real actor (as opposed to a comedian) play opposite him to "ground him", the studio ultimately allowed Daniels to keep the role.
Although the ultimate travel goal was to reach Aspen, Colorado, the actual town wanted too much money for film rights, so many scenes were shot in nearby Breckenridge. The script, however, was untouched. Certain shots were filmed in Estes Park, Colorado, at The Stanley Hotel.
The feature film debut for Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly. They said years later that the main reason they got the job was that Jim Carrey's breakthrough film role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) had been directed by someone who had never done a feature film before (Tom Shadyac) and after a positive first meeting with the Farrellys, Carrey decided to give them the job in hopes of replicating that success.
The restaurant scene (with Seabass) was filmed in Ft. Morgan, Colorado. However, filmmakers originally wanted to film this scene at a restaurant in Wiggins (about 15 miles west of Ft. Morgan), but after viewing the script the owner refused.
Jeff Daniels later claimed three of his agents desperately called him the night before he was to have his costume fitting, begging him not to go, saying they would get him out of his contract. They told him in no uncertain terms he was making the worst mistake of his career, that he would destroy his reputation as a serious actor, while Jim Carrey would receive all the credit for the movie's comedy. Daniels told them his decision was final, and if it was a mistake it was his to make.
Bennett Yellin's initial draft of the script was apparently so disjointed that it had gained a negative reputation among film investors. After the script was re-written, it was pitched to producers under the fake title "A Power Tool Is Not a Toy", in order to get them to even read it.
Among the many writings on the gas station bathroom stall are: "Why are you looking up here when the joke is in your hand?", "Bye Bye William Frawley", "NAMBLA Rules", and "Why the hell is everyone so goddamned angry?".
During the men's room stall scene, when Lloyd checks the time, the close-up of his wristwatch reveals it to be a "Casino Alarm Chronograph", suggesting it is a fake of the already, very inexpensive brand, Casio; it also lacks any of the dials found on a real chronographic timepiece, along with the 5, 6, and 7.
The Original Screenplay was actually written by legendary Chicago filmmaker John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Vacation). Due to the deal he made with the directors, his name was to be stripped from the project, including the script.
At one point, the Farrelly Brothers considered Corey Feldman for the role of Lloyd and Corey Haim for the role of Harry. But New Line Cinema CEO Robert Shaye wouldn't allow it as he felt the Corey's were no longer bankable actors.
An early draft of the film had Mel Gibson as Mary's husband, playing himself in a cameo role. This was going to be a gag because at the time, Gibson was one of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs, and somebody like Lloyd Christmas couldn't possibly hope to compete with him.
This is the second movie released in the same year in which Karen Duffy plays a character named Shay. She also played a character named Shay Stanley in Blank Check (1994). It was also the second movie released in the same year in which Jeff Daniels played a character named Harry. He also played Det. Harry Temple in Speed (1994).
Graphics in the diner scene include: the ballcaps worn by Sea Bass and his friend read, respectively, "Wine 'em dine 'em sixty-nine 'em" and "Happiness is seeing your mother in law's picture on a milk carton." Additionally, the cashier is reading the self-help book "Of Course You're Angry" by Gayle Rosellini and Mark Worden.
Lloyd punching his fist into the chest of the chef and ripping his heart out of his body in the dream Kung-Fu fight sequence parodies Mortal Kombat (1992), which the character Kano kills his opponents by ripping their hearts out of their chests. This could also be a reference to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). The main villain rips the heart out of a villager's chest during a ritual sacrifice.
In the ball scene, Harry and Lloyd both do impressions of Hannibal Lector, the main antagonist from _The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In Jim Carrey's later film The Cable Guy (1996) Chip Douglas (Played by Jim Carrey) impersonates Hannibal Lector.
The film bears a striking resemblance with the beginning of Stir Crazy (1980). Both films involve two friends who, after getting fired from service jobs on the same day, decide to move West after an inspirational speech given by one of the friends. Both films also include a road trip segment in a van, a run in with hillbilly locals and an energetic exclamation about how much they love being somewhere else.
In this movie Mike Starr's character has an ulcer. When he's stressed he pours pain pills into his mouth and chews them up instead of swallowing them. In Funny Farm (1988) Mike Starr plays a mover who almost has a bridge collapse on him and his truck. After the stress of backing the truck out before the bridge finally caves in, he takes out a bottle of asprin and pours tablets straight from the bottle into his mouth and chews them, just like in this movie.
A humorous review extract which John Ferguson from Radio Times wrote, "With Jim Carrey, there are no half measures. So you'll either love this as one of Carrey's finest moments or loathe it as a perfect example of mind-numbing Hollywood cinema. However, even the harshest critic will find it hard to suppress at least a couple of chuckles during this cheerfully moronic mix of slapstick, sight gags and toilet humour". Ferguson also gave his review of Dumb and Dumber (1994) a four out of five stars rating, meaning very good.
In the scene where Lloyd is driving and playing with Harry while he's sleeping, there is Aspen on the Left and Lincoln Nebraska on the right with Lloyd going to Lincoln Nebraska, Lincoln Nebraska is the place in Yes Man (2008) (also starring Jim Carrey) is where he takes his friend to on their first trip together.
Three years after the film release. Both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniel would go on to play lawyers in two movies. Jim Carrey played one in Liar Liar (1997) and Jeff Daniel played one in Trial and Error (1997).
Before they pick up Mentalinio Lloyd bets Harry he can get him to gamble before the day is out. After some persuasion Harry accepts meaning Lloyd managed to win the bet by successfully making Harry bet but due to his stupidly he does not realize he had won.
During Lloyd's dream sequence, when it looks like the chef has defeated him - he got brutally beaten up and literally had his head kicked in - Lloyd rises to his feet and says, "Eeuueh", to the chef who looks somewhat uneasy. Jim Carrey also says, "Eeuueh", in The Mask (1994) released the same year as this film.
The title of the film could be ironic because even though Harry and Lloyd are meant to be imbeciles it can be suggested Joe Mentalino, Shay and Nicholas Andre are also dim witted as they think Harry and Lloyd are agents helping Mary get her husband back. In fact before he died Mentalino even remarks he made a mistake thinking Harry and Lloyd were spies after discovering they were just handing a briefcase back to Mary.
A Time Out review extract appears to have been written around the year Dumb and Dumber (1994) was first released, "Context: given American cinema's current obsession with ignorance and innocence; Forrest Gump, I.Q., Nell, this at least doesn't attempt to romanticise its protagonists".
The character of Mary Swanson, played by Lauren Holly, lives in Aspen, Colorado. Holly's "Picket Fences" costar Leigh Taylor-Young appeared in an episode of "Murder, She Wrote" called "A Quaking in Aspen".
An entire subplot was filmed involving Mary's kidnapped husband Bobby being kept in a wooden shipping crate, but was ultimately discarded. The brief scene where Nicholas and Shay discuss the snow owl incident had originally led into a scene where Bobby manages to escape while still inside the crate.
In both the theatrical version and in the Director's Cut, Petey, Harry's pet bird's death happens on-screen. However, in the extended version. Petey is heard squawking and the sound effect of Petey's neck being snapped by Joe Mentalino is heard.
Besides Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, Brady Bluhm (Billy) and Cam Neely (Sea Bass) were the only other cast members to return for Dumb and Dumber To (2014). However, Neely only appears in the extra scene after the end credits in the sequel, which Harry and Lloyd foolishly chuck their milkshakes on the windscreen of Sea Bass's truck.
In the sequel, it's revealed shortly after Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd checks himself into a mental hospital which he resides in as patient for 20 years as part of a prank he was playing on Harry whom thought Lloyd suffered a mental breakdown in the aftermath of learning Mary Swanson is married.
In a scene that was cut from the film, Harry tries to reason with Andre about shooting him and Lloyd and states that if Andre kills them, he will be killing himself. On October 7th 2005, Charles Rocket (Nicholas Andre) committed suicide. He was 56.
The final shot of Harry and Lloyd walking alone across the highway onto an unknown location when the end credits start rolling is a nod to the Western genre which the cowboy leaves and rides out of town and back out back into the desert wilderness and moves on.
When Harry and Lloyd are trying to remember or guess Mary's last name while in Aspen, Lloyd can read the briefcase name as Samsonite but when he reads the newspaper after crying over a commercial he can barely read the newspaper. He had trouble with the words, the, annual and international.
In the Limo ride scene, Mary tells Lloyd to keep his eyes on the road because he's not keeping his eyes on the road, when he is talking to her about getting killed on the way to the airport. This foreshadows Lloyd driving to Lincoln instead of Aspen in the Wrong Way scene, because Lloyd didn't keep his eyes on the road.