The Three Stooges: The Movie


THE THREE STOOGES


By Gary Murray


Starring Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jane Lynch, Sophia Vergara and Jennifer Hudson


Written by Mike Cerrone and Peter & Bobby Farrelly


Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly


Running time 92 min


MPAA Rating PG


Selig Film Rating Cable


The Three Stooges were the kings of shorts, those little films that were placed between two main features on a double bill.  These brief works done in the 1930’s were almost live action versions of cartoons, full of silly slapstick and over the top mayhem.  In the earliest days of television; Moe, Larry and Curly were the perfect fit for the young medium.  They became huge stars once again and developed another fan base. 


Two of those fans were Peter and Bob Farrelly the guys behind such comedy flicks as Hall Pass, Stuck on You and There’s Something About Mary.   They have created a loving homage to those magical men of mirth in The Three Stooges: The Movie


Rather than attempting a bio-pic of the comics, the Brothers Farrelly have decided to make three connected shorts.  We do not get the origins of the Stooges and their act but an adventure as if they were still around. 


The movie takes on the basic Blues Brothers premise.  The boys are left at an orphanage and struggle to get adopted.  After failed attempts and 35 years the boys are men, still living the nuns (who never age).  When the boys find out that the diocese wants to close the shelter for children, our beloved bumblers set out to the big city to make enough money to save the orphanage. 


Once in the city they run into Lydia (Sophia Vergara) a gold digger who is looking for someone to kill her husband so she can inherit his money.  The boys are conned by her big city ways to attempt this crime, they just get the entire exercise wrong.   They also run into an adopted orphan who tries to befriend them in their search for cash.

The plot is more of an excuse to have Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Curly (Will Sasso) go through the comedic slapstick paces of beating each other over the head, faces and shoulders.  We are entertained with gags of giant bells falling; sledge hammers smacking craniums and pokes in the eye.  It is as old as a pie in the face (which we also get) but since it is the Farrelly Brothers, there are some more crass elements added to the mix.  In one scene, the boys have a battle using newborns as firing mechanisms.  It is gross but had the 12 year old boys in the audience in stitches.  While it is mostly inoffensive drivel, there are more than a few moments that were cringe worthy. 

Of the three leads, I felt that Will Sasso captured the essence of Curly the best.  Not only did he field the voice and inflections of character, he found the lovable man-child soul behind the persona.  While Chris Diamantopoulos had the haircut, he didn’t possess the fire of the Moe disposition.  There was the violence, just not the subtly.   Sean Hayes is arguably the biggest name of the three leads and never seems to bring his A-game to the proceedings.  Larry was always the third wheel of the group and Mr. Hayes never finds the moment to propel to more than a ‘show’ finish. 


Sophia Vergara was the biggest surprise of the work.  She was the woman who gets her comeuppance at the hands of the stooges, even when they don’t know they are giving her the business.  There are moments where she steals laughs at her expense from this boy’s club of a comedy.    


Peter and Bobby Farrelly are known for delivering coarse and crude comedy that appeal to a very common demographic and they do not fail to dive for the lowest bar with this outing.  While I was a fan of There’s Something About Mary, the rest of their works left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Both Shallow Hal and Me, Myself and Irene were embarrassingly bad.  This film is a step up from most of their work but is it in way a classic film.

 

The Three Stooges: The Movie was funny but got to be a bit long in the tooth by the 90 minute mark.  The Stooges were best in shorter features, usually at about the 17 minute mark.   Their full length features were generally failures in the realm of comedy.  This film proved that even with slapstick, brevity is the soul of wit. 

 

 



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