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Jim Carrey on the follow up to Dumb and Dumber

Twenty years on from the hit road buddy comedy, Jim Carrey tells Susan Griffin why he's finally reviving one of his best-loved screen characters

Jim Carrey likes to compare himself to evolution. "I move slowly, but I definitely move," says the rubber-faced funny man, on why it's taken two decades for the follow-up to 1994's Dumb And Dumber.

"I was never planning on doing a sequel, but people never left me alone. They just kept after me, wanting to see another one, and then I watched it 10 years ago. I'd seen bits and pieces a number of times, but this time, I sat and watched it and was laughing. I couldn't believe some of the stuff we did.

"I was like, 'Gosh, I really like these guys, maybe the world needs them'. Plus, the world leaders were calling me," he quips. "They said, 'There's unrest, we need your help'."

This is as animated as the 52-year-old, casually dressed, with his hair standing on end, gets during our time together, which is a surprise, given his larger-than-life performances in the likes of Ace Ventura, Liar Liar and The Mask.

Peter Farrelly, who along with his brother Bobby directed the original and the sequel, describes Carrey as "a genius".

"More than people know," says Farrelly. "We sit down with him and go through the script line by line. It's unbelievable what he adds. Then, after we've shot the movie, we ask him to come into the edit room because he's so smart. I have the highest admiration for the man."

Carrey admits he had "lots" of input on the script. "I can't keep my hands off stuff and come up with as many insane things as I can possibly think of. I just spew and they go, 'Inappropriate ... Appropriate'."

His work ethic comes from "being absolutely desperate to make something interesting happen in every scene".

"I have a lot of partners in crime with me on this one, particularly Pete and Bob, who are just a different ilk of people. They're the oddest leaders you'd ever want to follow," he explains.

Fans of the original movie will know what to expect; a lot of slapstick and toilet humour. The idiotic Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) might be 20 years older, but they're as daft as ever, this time criss-crossing the country to find the daughter Harry never knew he had.

The journey takes them from a mental institution, where Lloyd's been languishing in a comatose state for 20 years, to a summit playing host to the world's most brilliant minds.

Carrey believes it's the main characters' innocence which makes them lovable, despite their foibles. "There's no ego with them. They're completely authentic about their lives. It's like when you watch children, and you're relieved by the fact they're selfish at times and they cry when they want to and they laugh when they want to, and it's the same with these guys. It's the same kind of animal."

Born in Canada's Ontario, Carrey, who has a 27-year-old-daughter from his first marriage (he's been married twice), began his career as a stand-up comic in his teens. He moved to LA at 19 and became a regular at The Comedy Store. He then moved onto TV and film with varied success, before 1994's Ace Ventura marked him out as a comedic tour de force.

His career hasn't all been about raising laughs, though - there have been plenty of dramatic roles too, notably 1998's The Truman Show, about a man who realises his entire life is being played out as a reality TV show. He hasn't ruled out tackling another dramatic role in the future. "I hope to, sure," he says. "Those are the types of things where I like to wait for something special."

Dumb And Dumber To is in cinemas now

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