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The Three Stooges
The Three Stooges
Directors: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Writers: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Mike Cerrone
Cast: Will Sasso, Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jane Lynch, Larry David, Sofía Vergara, Jennifer Hudson, Craig Bierko, Stephen Collins, Kirby Heyborne, Carly Craig, Kate Upton, Marianne Leone, Brian Doyle-Murray, Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino, Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi, Jenni Farley, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Sammi 'Sweetheart' Giancola, Avalon Robbins, Max Charles, Jake Peck, Skyler Gisondo, Lance Chantiles-Wertz, Robert Capron, Patricia French, Dwight Howard
Synopsis: While trying to save their childhood orphanage, Moe, Larry, and Curly inadvertently stumble into a murder plot and wind up starring in a reality TV show.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language
Disorder in the Court
Just Say Moe! Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!
Growing up watching "Three Stooges" always used to make me laugh uncontrollably. In fact, I can still recall my very first "Three Stooges" film, when the stooges themselves met the legendary, Hercules. Granted, it wasn't a great comedy by any stretch of the imagination, but it was still an all around fun movie to watch. In fact, I still love watching it to this day, and most of their shorts as well. For those readers that aren't familiar with the "Three Stooges", I'll gladly explain things before diving into my review.
Like "Laurel & Hardy", "The Three Stooges" were a comedy group that acted in various comedic shorts, during Hollywood's golden years. Not only were the stooges a pop culture phenomenon, but they would go on to star in various cartoon shows, movies, and quite a few comedic shorts. Although there were more than three people that were apart of this act, Moe, Curly and Larry seem to be the most popular trio of the "Three Stooges." Sure, it's been nearly over half a century since the stooges last appearance, but they still continue to have quite a strong fan base. Needless to say, there's been a reboot planned about the "Three Stooges" for quite a while now.
Unfortunately, the reboot was in development hell for quite a while before it saw the light of day. Before anyone asks, this movie is not a biographical film about the real life "Three Stooges", nor does it convey any kind of story about how the stooges impacted Hollywood. No, this is a reboot of the classic stooge shorts; with quite a few pop cultural references, and insight into the stooges themselves. Meaning that unlike the original shorts, movies and cartoons, we'll get a deeper insight into the stooges' relationship with each other. It goes on into describing who the stooges are individually, and it even shows how much they mean to each other; in spite of their constant hitting of each other. Aw, isn't that sweet?
As for those parents out there who are scared that their kids will mimic the stooges' routine, then have no fear. At the end of the movie, the Farrelly brothers do a public service announcement telling viewers that the stunts in the movie aren't real; while also emphasizing to never try what the stooges do at home. Ah yes, the politically correct world of entertainment folks.
However, would a "Three Stooges" movie hold up well with pop culture references, and a deeper exploration of their relationship? Well, lets get into that now. The movie is essentially divided up into three shorts, but all three of them are inter connected within the same plot, so it kind of makes the whole thing pointless. Sure, it's a nice homage to how the stooges were known for comedy shorts, but it's unnecessary in this movie's case.
As the trailers suggests, the stooges start off as abandoned orphans on an orphanage's door step. At first, all the nuns there can't help but think how adorably cute they are. But as they get older, they soon become a real pain in the a** with all their mischief. Most of the nuns hate their guts, and the few that do like them are far few and between. As children, the nuns try to get rid of the stooges by making a rich couple think that they're the only orphans they have. But as luck would have it, their little friend, Teddy, happens to wander in as well. At first, Moe is chosen, but he can't possibly leave Curly and Larry behind. In fact, he tells his foster family that he'd love more than anything if they could adopt all three of them. As luck would have it, the rich couple knew they couldn't break those boys apart, so...they adopt Teddy instead.
Moe is forced to explain what happened to Larry and Curly. Moe smugly replies that the real reason was because his foster parents would force him to do too many chores, and that's why he didn't want them as parents; instead of telling them the truth. Needless to say, this does play a key part in the movie later on, but I won't spoil that for most readers.
As time passes on, nobody wants the stooges, so they end up becoming the orphanage's dimwit handy men. Although, they seem to cause more damage than they actually fix, in classic stooge like fashion. Many of it ranging from Moe running a chainsaw on Curly's head, to the classic eye poking and face slapping routine. I will admit that they definitely cast well for actors that looked like the stooges, and during those classic stooge routines, it does seem like the actors pull off the iconic roles well. Granted, they're not as great as the originals, but they're still good impersonators.
Anyway, to get back to the story, the orphanage is about to close down because it's in debt up to $850,000 dollars, so the stooges must raise the money, or the orphanage will be closed. And, that's all you need to know about the story without giving away too much. Granted, there's a wife trying to kill her rich husband for his money, but I won't spoil that for readers.
Like the "Brady Bunch" movie, it seems this film takes iconic classical characters from a different era, and places them in modern times where it's very obvious they don't fit in quite well. Take the scene where Curly mistakes the "I-Phone" for a literal EYE PHONE, for example. Of course, the movie makes other various references to pop culture like delving into the concepts of reality shows such as "Jersey Shore." Indeed, if you've ever wondered how the stooges would be in today's era, then look no further than this film.
On the one hand, I do have to applaud the film makers behind this movie for trying to reboot the stooges to a new generation with these pop culture references, and such. Plus, I can understand where the Farrelly brothers are coming from, by trying the make the stooges more relatable on a basic level. However, I somehow feel this movie completely misses what the stooges were about. Granted, I've only seen two other "Three Stooges" movies in my life, and I would hardly call them great comedies. However, for what they were, I honestly laughed through them just the same. And let's be honest, did anyone seriously ask, "Gee, I wonder how the stooges feel about each other?"
At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I honestly don't think most stooge fans give a damn about how they felt about each other. Why do I say this? Because during all their old shorts, and movies, they never once stopped to ask, "Gee, I wonder how Curly and Larry feel about Moe, as he's always beating them up." Or ask the stupid question, "Does Moe care about those guys at all? If so, then why does he hit them to show affection?" Yes, this movie honestly tries to answer those questions. Granted, I can understand the concept of trying to make them relatable. I really do. However, for a stooge like comedy, it doesn't work. Maybe to the younger audiences that might not be familiar with the stooges, then it might be okay.
However, if you're one of those fans that know how the stooges were like, then you'll just roll your eyes thinking, "Oh god, what have they done to the stooges?" Seriously, as a casual stooge fan, I will say this. I honestly don't give a rat's a** how they feel about each other; whenever I watch their old shorts and movies. No, all I care about is seeing the stooges be the freaking "Three Stooges." Meaning I don't want the film to ever stop to ask, "How does Larry and Curly feel when Moe slaps them across the face a certain way?" No, I just want to see the stooges slap, poke and hit the heck out of each other, while seeing a fairly serviceable plot to set up the comedy.
As far as the pop cultural references go, they don't work in this movie's favor either. Granted, I can see where the Farrelly brothers were going with this movie, as it's obvious they were trying to mimic the success of the "Brady Bunch Movie." However, what made the "Brady Bunch Movie" work is that the film never took itself seriously at all. Sure, there were still plenty of heartfelt moments between the characters, but it was never over emphasized for dramatic effect. Whereas "The Three Stooges", it seems the movie tries to take itself seriously at times; where it almost seems like film wants set up a bro-mance between them. For those that don't know what that is, it's essentially when a film has two or more male characters that share a platonic brotherly relationship.
Again, it's not a bad concept, but it's not what the stooges were about. Most younger audiences may like this film because they're not as familiar with the stooges, but old school fans will probably find this movie ridiculously stupid. And, I don't mean that in a good way either. Sure, the actors do a great job impersonating the iconic comedians well, and I do have to applaud the make up artists for making them look like the classic stooges. Unfortunately, the pop culture references, and the idea that they try to delve into who the stooges are as people, it ends up missing the entire point about what the originals were even about. At the end of the day, did you really even care about who they were as people during their original cartoons, movies and shorts? Or did you just want to laugh while watching them slap each other around like idiots?
In the end, I'd have to give this movie a one and a half out of four. Although the ideas this movie presents are interesting, it completely misses the point about what the original "Three Stooges" were about; which is sad to say the least.