LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After two decades, hit goofball comedy "Dumb and Dumber" is back as "Dumb and Dumber To," and the sequel owes a big thanks to an unlikely ally: cable television.
The adventure comedy based around idiots Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and his best friend Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) may never have become an enduring hit without the boost from continuous play on cable networks TBS and TNT, said writer-director brothers Bobby and Peter Farrelly.
"People watched it over and over and over," said Bobby Farrelly, 56, alongside his older brother ahead of the sequel's U.S. release on Friday.
"It had a different life of its own because they always had it on ... a whole generation of kids know every line," he added.
Like the first film, the sequel is a road trip comedy of stupidity and bathroom humor, but this time they are in search of Harry's long lost daughter, his last hope for a kidney donor.
"There have been a lot of movies about dumb people, but I believe the thing that people come back to is they like them," Peter Farrelly, 57, said of Harry and Lloyd.
Although it is unlikely the sequel from Universal Pictures will eclipse its predecessor's $127 million in U.S. ticket sales, the first film's prominent position in pop culture offers a measure of vindication for the "There's Something About Mary" directors.
The brothers, unassuming Rhode Island natives who choose not live in Los Angeles, say they have fought studio bosses to keep some of the film's most memorable - and stupid - jokes.
"All the things that are popular now are things that weren't really funny (to the studio executives) at the original test screening," said Bobby. "We were right about that."
Peter said New Line Cinema, the studio that produced "Dumb and Dumber" in 1994, frowned on the now-memorable line, "So you're telling me there's a chance!" Lloyd exclaims when love interest Mary tells him it would be a "one-in-a-million" shot to get together.
The duo believes they found strength in their own numbers when they have had to push back against studio demands.
"Eventually you start feeling like a whiny little baby because you're fighting and fighting, and you start feeling bad," Peter said. "Then the other guy says, 'No, no, no. Keep it up.' That's how we do our best, when we hold each other up."
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)