NEW YORK – For the record: Jim Carrey (search) is not in Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.
You might think so after seeing ads for the movie, which opens this Friday.
While Carrey is busy playing God in Bruce Almighty, the look-alike on the Dumberer poster is actually 26-year-old Eric Christian Olsen (search) -- whose biggest claim to fame was playing the Cocky Blond Guy in last year's Not Another Teen Movie.
His salary is quite a bit cheaper than Carrey's current asking price of $25 million per movie (which is more than the entire budget of the Farrelly brothers' moronic 1994 Carrey-starring hit, Dumb and Dumber).
Although Olsen declined to reveal his salary, David Poland, editor of moviecitynews.com says, "He couldn't have gotten more than $250,000."
So it was Olsen who got the call to play Hollywood's most famous dork, Lloyd Christmas, in this prequel, which imagines what Lloyd and his goofball pal Harry (originally played by Jeff Daniels (search)) would have been like in high school.
But Dumberer director Troy Miller almost didn't hire Olsen because he's (sorry, Jim) just too good-looking.
The Iowa native showed up for his first Dumberer audition last spring in the best shape of his life, with a killer tan, tousled blond hair and sandals. Just an hour before reading with Miller, he had been surfing 8-foot waves in Malibu.
"He had the comic timing," says Miller, who was impressed with the actor's Carrey impersonation. "But the look was way off."
Enter Dumberer makeup artist Tonyia Verna to the rescue. She dyed Olsen's hair brown, snipped it into a bowl cut and stuck a fake chipped tooth into his mouth.
But it took more than that to transform a teen hunk into Jim Carrey.
So Olsen and Derek Richardson (who plays the young Harry) bought DVDs of the original movie and deconstructed it like a sacred text.
"If I was playing Julius Caesar, I would read every book that I possibly could about him," Olsen says.
"It's the same with this, except all I had to study was Dumb and Dumber."
Olsen watched the DVD more than 30 times, he says, working the remote control as he examined Carrey's quirky arched eyebrow, his silly lisp and the way he pumps his arms up and down when he runs.
"I even love the way he leaves a room," Olsen says. "He's like a cartoon character, the way his body leaves first, and his head stays behind for one second more."
That left the problem of Olsen's sculpted muscles -- built up from years of surfing, rock climbing and lifting weights.
In one of the first scenes that Miller filmed, Olsen was supposed to be naked and taking a shower -- an image that wasn't going to work if he looked like a jock.
So Olsen went on a two-week crash diet that shaved 13 pounds off his 6-foot-2, 182-pound frame.
He almost fainted a couple times, but got the appropriate sunken-chest look for the shower scene.
"I hesitate to invoke this name," Miller says, "but to me, it's like the way Robert De Niro changed his body for Raging Bull."
Olsen isn't ready to put himself in such venerated company quite yet -- after all, it wasn't that long ago when he was a varsity hockey player at his Bettendorf, Iowa, high school who worked with an improv comedy troupe on weekends.
This Wednesday, he'll fly his mother, father and Navy SEAL brother to Beverly Hills for the "Dumberer" premiere.
His girlfriend, the 22-year-old actress Maggie Lawson (TV's Inside Schwartz, Nancy Drew) will be there as well.
Alas, Jim Carrey will not.
He, Daniels and the Farrelly brothers have steered clear of this new movie.
Carrey told a reporter last month that he has no bad feelings about Dumberer, but he also joked that "impersonation is the sincerest form of plagiarism."
Snarky comments don't dissuade Olsen, however: He's still Carrey's biggest fan.
"I really want Jim to see it," Olsen says.
"I care what other people, like my parents and friends, think about the movie. But his opinion matters the most."