Filmmaker twins win “Dumb & Dumber To” video contest

Billy and Mat Flanagan

Twin filmmaking brothers Billy and Matt Flanagan transformed their lifelong admiration for the comedy “Dumb & Dumber” into a video that solidified their rank among the movie’s biggest fans by winning Universal Studios’ “Mutt Cutts World Tour” contest in October.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly, “Dumb and Dumber’s” writer/directors, selected the Flanagans’ video as best among more than a thousand entries judged for skill, creativity and personality.

Their prize was a cross-country trip in the authentic Mutt Cutts van featured in “Dumb & Dumber,” the “Shaggin Wagon.” Along the way, they made publicity stops to promote the sequel, “Dumb & Dumber To,” while handing out t-shirts and performing  live skits with fans and a production crew that joined them for the ride.

Their winning entry, “Obsessed is an Understatement,” is a 90-second series of gags depicting Matt’s irrepressible desire to become Lloyd Christmas, Jim Carrey’s “Dumb & Dumber” character, after he learns about the movie’s sequel.

With each turn, his buck-toothed, bowl-cutted, shriek-a-thon imitation of Christmas gains more brilliance.

Billy, meanwhile, endures the worst of it as he describes the growing absurdity with crime thriller suspense.

The Flanagans learned about the contest from their mother, who “read through all the instructions and called and said, ‘Dude, you gotta check it out,'” says Billy.

“She was really excited about it. We all follow the ‘Dumb & Dumber’ page on Facebook.”

Video shot in the family home

Equipped with a JVC 700 rented from DePaul University, where they both recently received film degrees, the Flanagans became a two-man cast and crew. They shot the whole thing in various rooms of their family’s Crystal Lake home over three days.

“In the shots with both of us,” Billy says, “we would rig and hide the mike, put the camera on a tripod, press record, jump in the frame and act the scene.”

They submitted the film just in time to beat the October deadline. Two weeks later, Universal called.

“They said the Farrelly brothers saw the video and they loved it,” says Billy.

A few days after that, Billy returned home from a date with his girlfriend and his mother greeted him at the door with the news, “You won.” 

The final stop of the publicity tour was in the back lot of LA’s Regency theater, where the Flanagans handed the keys of the Shaggin Wagon over to Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

“They were waiting for us and cracking up,” says Billy.

After a few pictures and a bit of small talk, the brothers asked Carrey if he was happy to be reunited with the Wagon.

“You know,” he joked, “I can’t get away from this.”

Carrey and Daniels then drove the van around front to make their red carpet appearance at the world premiere of “Dumb and Dumber To.”

On their way into the theater, the Flanagan brothers bumped into the Farrelly brothers.

“Bobby tapped Peter on the shoulder,” recalls Billy, “and said ‘Hey, Peter, these are the two banana heads who won the contest.”