Let me start by saying that I was never introduced to the comedy of the original three stooges when I was a child. I have of course known about them since I was young and would see old clips and commercials on TV, but never had I settled down and actually watched an episode. Going into a movie about them that seemed to be more of a tribute than anything I figured I would obtain a pretty fine idea of what the original had to offer and why it had become so loved. For the most part this seems to be true. When the talkings of a movie about the stooges came up it seemed natural that the brothers Farrelly would be at the helm. They seemed to have a loving relationship with the series that likely inspired them as young filmmakers to create the kind of comedies they've become famous for. Though I would have preferred to see the more prestigious version of this film where Sean Penn played Larry, Benincio Del Toro was Moe with Jim Carrey as Curly though it is nice to see that the project was able to rebound and for the most part, land on its feet. While their has been hesitation from pretty much everyone to embrace this film given its horrible trailers and TV spots or simply because you might be a fan of the original and think of this as blasphemy; the good news is that the Farrelly's have produced a family friendly film that doesn't wear out its welcome or short you on the gags you really came to the movie to see. It is indeed a loving tribute to the series and the characters with some Farrelly-esque moments but all in all isn't nearly as bad as we all imagined it would be.

Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) gets mixed up with the
Jersey Shore gang in the stooges new movie.
The three acts of the script have been clearly identified in the film as they pose as if each individual episodes that form this coherent film. The plot of the film has something to do with the stooges raising money to keep open the orphanage that has raised them and where they still live and work in their mid-30's. Their adventure to round up $830,000 is of course lined with obstacles and adventures that put the guys in many a complicated and unfortunate situations but does the plot really matter here? No, not really but it is expertly put together and layers the elements of moral lessons to be learned just perfectly. It is also fun to watch as celebrities like the hilarious and gorgeous Sofia Vergara show up throughout. There's also Larry David being a scene-stealer as the mean nun, an underused Jane Lynch as mother superior, and an out of place Jennifer Hudson as the token black nun. Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) shows up for a few scenes and in a very Farrelly move Moe is dropped in as a cast member on Jersey Shore which of course features cameos from the likes of Snooki and the Situation (although I would have preferred it more had Moe and Pauly D gotten together). Each of the stooges go through an emotional journey in a nice touch of theme that has to do with the importance of brotherly love, as well as the importance of family. It gets sweet and a little sappy but more importantly it never lacks the slapstick humor (no matter how easy the joke) and never loses sight of what it is in being a tribute to the original pranksters.

Curly (Will Sasso), Moe, and Larry (Sean Hayes) make a
great impression as the three stooges. 
What the film really comes down to though is how well the three actors imitate the original stooges. While these actors aren't the major stars that were one time attached to the project each does have some TV credit and are nothing short of great at mimicking the original Larry, Curly, and Moe. As Curly, Will Sasso (Mad TV) might be an obvious choice for his looks but he has to be given credit for looking eerily similar to the original. While his impersonation is probably the one that is most easily seen through it is tricky to judge because Curly had the most defining characteristics. Whether it be the hand movements, the high voice, or the body language, each aspect of the character was very specific and with such a high order Sasso had tall orders to emulate a character who is essentially a carbon copy without seeming over the top. Over the top in the means of his impression as his actions will naturally be over the top. Sasso handles it well for the most part, while it may be difficult to look past it as anything more than an impression at first we eventually tune into it and become more at ease about it. In almost a spot on bit of casting Will & Grace alum Sean Hayes inhabits the role of Larry. It was a questionable choice at first as Hayes really doesn't resemble the original Larry all that much, but with the right amount of make-up and that hair he comes across perfectly. The voice, the movement is spot on and the same can be said for Chris Diamantopoulos (24). He not only looks the part of ringleader Moe but he has the very distinct accent down pat and marches through the story with confidence and ignorance just like we would expect him to. It is easy to see why it was hard for the Farrelly's to find three actors that wouldn't mind taking on the iconic roles and despite the fact their will still be criticism it will not be at the fault of these actors who don't attempt to do "versions" of these characters, but are in fact doing Moe, Larry, and Curly on the nose.

Sister Bernice (Kate Upton) reveals her gifts from
God to the stooges.
While this has clearly been a labor of love for the Farrelly brothers it seems to have paid off. I didn't personally have a lot of hope for the film going into it, but afterwards and after seeing all the faces of the children reacting to the film it was clear that they accomplished what they were going for. This is one of those movies that I would have seen as a child, that my parents would have purchased because it was guaranteed entertainment and I would have watched it over and over again until it was burned into the DNA of my childhood. That's what I saw on the faces of those kids and the minds of their parents as I exited the (crowded) theater. Throughout it was clear that everyone in the theater was enjoying themselves and it boils down to one simple thing: the humor. It is basic, but it is hilarious, sometimes there is nothing better than watching grown men act like idiots. While today's comedians have seemed to advance the comedic landscape by playing these man-children it was the stooges who did it first. To watch a grown man pinch another's nostrils with a pair of tongs or to see them get belted in the head with whatever object is handy never seems to grow old, especially when aided by those classic sound effects. The movie plays the persona's of these knuckleheads just right, giving them the roles that relate to someone at every age and no matter if you think this is another case of Hollywood mining old ideas for new money, I think it is a good thing that younger generations are being given this big budget introduction to the stooges and the product we have been given is a fine tribute to some of comedies greatest heroes.


1 comment:

  1. I can’t justify it, but I loved this film. Glad to see I’m not alone. Nice review. Check out mine when you get the chance.