Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Run Time: 1 hour 35 minutes, Rated PG
Starring: Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson, Larry David
Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly (There's Something About Mary, Kingpin, Dumb & Dumber)
After seeing this new movie incarnation of The Three Stooges, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that any fan of the original shorts will thoroughly enjoy themselves. It's a testament to the original slapstick appeal of the original team of Moe, Larry and Curly that their brand of comedy endures for a new generation to witness.
The verdict though, is still out on how this film will appeal to the newer generations who are (sadly) unfamiliar with the legendary comic trio.
In the film, the Three Stooges are left as infants on the doorstep of an orphanage ran by a gaggle of nuns. They are unwanted and more than a handful, so they grow into adulthood in the confines of the orphanage. When the orphanage faces tough times and must close, the Stooges set out into the world to raise the necessary money to keep the place open.
The first real achievement of the film is the casting of these well-known characters. Sean Hayes as Larry, Will Sasso as Curly, and Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe give spot-on impersonations of the famous troupe. They embody the gags, the movements, the voices and the aura of each of their respective characters. There are many actors that could impersonate the Stooges I'd guess, but these three captured their spirits perfectly.
But it is the direction of the Farrelly Brothers that breathes life and pokes fun into the film. The movie is broken into three "episodes" as if these were simply a continuation of the classic short films in which made the Stooges famous. Everything is handled with much respect and appreciation for the originals, to the point that I think will make any fan proud.
The site gags and puns that are infused into the script capture the essence of the original shorts. Some of the jokes seem familiar, and could have easily been lifted from the Stooges library. Later in the film however, the Stooges segue into current times, and even have some run-ins with the cast of Jersey Shore. The Stooges never change, even though their environment does.
I admit that I was caught up in the nostalgia of The Three Stooges. As a kid, I was a big fan, and remember that my dad was an even bigger fan. To this day, he sometimes wears a Three Stooges tie, and carries a Three Stooges action figure set with him on the golf course for good luck (whenever he birdies, he annoyingly hits a button that animates the Stooges and produces their famous "nyuck, nyuck, nyuck" sounds).
I screened the film with him, and we both were taken back to a simpler time, where Stooges could hit you over the head with a mallet or poke you in the eyes, without there being a public service announcement as to the dangers of such acts (yes, before the end credits of this film run, there is such a PSA from the Farrelly Brothers telling kids not to try this at home).
My predisposition as a Stooges fan prevents me from judging whether or not this film is for new audiences. I did hear some groans in the theater during certain scenes where I laughed out loud. I suppose that this kind of humor may not be for everyone. I also tend to think that this is a problem of this particular demographic, not an issue with the Stooges.
Heading into the theater, I had low expectations, and thought that I would have much rather seen a biographical take on the Stooges - one where we would have seen more of the behind-the-scenes as to how they came to be. But it only took one or two knocks on the head for me to realize that I had actually missed these morons. It was time well spent, and very relieving to know that these guys were given the proper screen treatment.
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