These Stooges ring true
To call “The Three Stooges” a silly or dumb movie is not only beside the point, it is the point. Nothing in writer-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly’s take on the classic slapstick clowns will convince anyone predisposed to dislike low-brow brand of humor.
But is it funny? Heck yeah, knuckleheads! Especially evidenced by the constant laughter in a theater filled with 10-year-olds—in age and in spirit alike —for whom the Stooges will never go out of style.
Capturing the essence of the original serials (the Stooges never made a feature length film, unlike peers The Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello) is a lot harder and painful than it looks, especially for the actors who with uncanny credibility portray Larry (Sean Hayes), Moe (Chris Diamatopoulous), and Curly (Will Sasso). The movie succeeds in large measure because these three guys never break character and pull off the hammer-over-the-head, poke-you-in-the-eye, choreographed pratfall pretty much to perfection.
Told in three episodes, the film starts with the boys being delivered on the steps of an orphanage, their eventual departure as adults into the wide world in order to save the orphanage, and them getting caught up in a screwball murder plot and a foray into the reality show business.
Along for the ride are Sofia Vergara, Craig Bierko, Kirby Heyborne and the four most diverse nuns in screen history, portrayed by Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Kate Upton and Larry David. (Not a typo).
In most comedies, a ratio of jokes to laughter of 25% would be a failure. But with the gags coming fast and furious as they do here, rarely a few minutes go by without something that works. Again, if this type of numbskull humor isn’t for you, more of it won’t make a difference.
But the Farrellys were the perfect choice to write and direct this homage. Big fans themselves, one of their early films, 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber,” is not only a distant cousin of the Three Stooges in many respects but that film was one of the brothers’ highest grossing (pun intended) and most critically acclaimed exploits.
For fans, “The Three Stooges” fits the bill. By all means go see it and take an immature friend or a kid at heart.
Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language.