The Three Stooges

Cast:
Sean Hayes as Larry
Will Sasso as Curly
Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe
Jane Lynch as Mother Superior
Sofía Vergara as Lydia
Jennifer Hudson as Sister Rosemary
Craig Bierko as Mac
Stephen Collins as Mr. Harter
Larry David as Sister Mary-Mengele
Kirby Heyborne as Teddy
Carly Craig as Mrs. Harter
Kate Upton as Sister Bernice
Marianne Leone as Sister Ricarda
Brian Doyle-Murray as Monsignor Ratliffe
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino as The Situation

Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly

Summary:
Hayes, Sasso, and Diamantopoulos do phenomenal impressions of the original Stooges that kids should really love, but adults will probably be bored by a weak storyline and a rehash of familiar comedy bits in “The Three Stooges.”

Story:
Abandoned at a Catholic orphanage as babies, Larry, Moe, and Curly grew up as three rambunctious, quarrelling, dimwitted boys. They were never adopted and as adults they remained at the orphanage as handymen. But when the orphanage is about to be closed down and the children sent to foster homes, the Three Stooges spring into action. They go on a mission from God to raise $830,000 and save the home.

Unfortunately, the men have led sheltered lives and don’t have a clue about the real world. And as they try to raise money, they are quickly pulled into a murder for hire scheme by a rich wife. Things are going to go really bad… for the would-be murderer, that is.

“The Three Stooges” is rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language.

What Worked:
There’s one thing I have to give this movie credit for. They did spectacular impressions of The Three Stooges. Sean Hayes as Larry, Will Sasso as Curly, and Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe perfectly nail the mannerisms, voices, and comedy bits of the original Stooges. It’s actually pretty impressive. Sasso really does the ‘Nyuk, Nyuk’, the finger snapping, and the snarling like Curly Howard. Diamantopoulos perfectly imitates the grimace and attitude of Moe Howard. And Hayes certainly gets the Larry Fine hair right. This movie is worth checking out just to see their performance.

I also have to give credit to the Farrellys – they know their audience. They have targeted this movie to kids and that was definitely the right move. Most kids these days have never seen The Three Stooges, so all of these classic comedy bits are new to them. I happened to be sitting next to a few kids under 10 at the screening of this film and they were dying laughing. Both boys and girls were cracking up repeatedly at the Stooges antics. I would say that watching their reactions to the movie was more entertaining than the movie itself. And the film ends with an amusing bit where the ‘Farrelly Brothers’ explain how the violent tricks were done. Moe Howard made a similar explanation to kids so they’d stop poking each others’ eyes out, so it was a fun tip of the hat to the original Stooges… while still covering their butts legally.

I’ll also grudgingly admit that while I utterly hate “Jersey Shore” and everything about it, I have to give credit to the cast of that show for being good sports and appearing in this movie. They allow themselves to be brutalized by Moe and made fun of, so kudos to them for retaining their sense of humor.

What Didn’t Work:
As a kid, I was a big fan of The Three Stooges. I watched all of their shorts and films on TV in reruns. Whenever it was on TV, I’d stop what I was doing and remained glued to the set. Unfortunately, I think this may have hurt my enjoyment of this film. While its fun to see the new impressions of the Stooge characters, you can’t help but watch what they’re doing and say, “Oh, they’re doing the hospital bit.” Or “I remember that joke from the old films.” You feel like you’ve seen it all before. It was like watching an Elvis impersonator or listening to a cover of your favorite song. It’s entertaining, but it simply doesn’t compare to the real thing. The Farrellys do attempt some new gags by taking the classic Stooges and putting them in new settings. You see a few examples in the trailers and TV commercials like the iPhone joke or Moe eye poking Snooki, but it’s not enough. Is it a case of old comedy not translating well today? Maybe. Groucho Marx or W.C. Fields probably wouldn’t translate into today’s comedy well either, but it’s probably more of a case of it appealing more to kids than adults. Combine that with the sense of nostalgia for the original and the Farrellys always had an uphill battle while making this movie. That’s why aiming it at kids was probably the right move.

All that aside, this was still a pretty weak script. The plot is simply your standard ‘save the orphanage’ story that’s little more than an excuse to string a bunch of Three Stooges bits together. On top of that, the trailers and commercials show most of the funny parts of the film. This movie has little to offer beyond what you’ve already seen.

The Bottom Line:
I’d recommend “The Three Stooges” to anyone 10 and under. Everyone else should probably just go back and watch the original Three Stooges on TV reruns.

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