Theatrical Review: The Three Stooges

And so it came to pass, three babies are left on the doorstep of an orphanage, though there’s something just a little odd about them.  The babies grow up to be young men with one of them having the opportunity to leave the other two by being adopted.  But this young man just can’t leave his friends behind and chooses to stay with them.  The three grow older and never leave the orphanage instead they stay behind and act as handymen.  But one day, they find that the orphanage is in financial trouble and ow the three leave their home behind, with the hopeful attempt to raise enough money to save their home… and of course have some eye-poking fun along the way.

That’s the basic story behind The Three Stooges the latest film from Peter and Bobby Farrelly and really this is just a hell of a lot of fun.  I’m a huge fan of the classic Three Stooges shorts and to this day, they still manage to get me to laugh in that sort of big, belly laugh way.  The Farrellys are obviously big fans as well and their little re-invention for a modern audience also manages to be quite the love letter to some classic comedy as well.

The Three Stooges is broken down into three separately chaptered stories all with the same running through-line.  It is one big story, but each individual chapter pays some great homage to classic Stooges situations of the past and I just did not want to see this end.  Now, I understand that some might take offense that this movie was even made, but really, the Farrelly’s hearts are definitely in the right place and they manage to not only pay homage, but re-invent while mixing the Stooges with their own brand of humor.

The best part of the film is the casting of Moe, Larry and Curly.  Chris Diamantopoulos plays Moe, Sean Hayes plays Larry and Will Sasso plays Curly and these guys are just brilliant.  Diamantopoulos has Moe’s look down to a “T.”  Sean Hayes is the only other person who I’ve ever heard pull off a successful impersonation of Larry Fine (the other is the great voice artist, actor and comedian Billy West).  Will Sasso is Curly Howard re-born.  The impersonations are absolutely spot-on, but even better is the timing and chemistry that all three have.  They absolutely excel at the gags, but the Farrellys also manage to bring a little heart to their film, and all three deliver the goods there as well.

There’s solid support for the boys from a great supporting cast including Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Sofia Vergara, Craig Bierko, Stephen Collins and the great Larry David.  I really have to give high marks to both Sofia Vergara and Larry David amongst the supporting cast.  Vergara plays Lydia, one of the villains of the movie.  She’s of course, drop-dead gorgeous, but also very much willing to put herself in a couple of pretty ridiculous situations and be a good sport about it.  Larry David plays Sister Mary-Mengele, one of the nuns at the orphanage and of course the one that the boys cause the most trouble for.  David’s lapping this whole thing up and you can just tell he’s having the time of his life playing the foil.  Also amongst the supporting cast, you’ll find the entire cast of Jersey Shore who I have to give props to for being good sports for the fun that gets made of them here.  As a downside to that, their appearance will no doubt date the film in later years, but for now, they certainly help generate some laughs.

I absolutely loved The Three Stooges and that’s for me pretty high praise considering I’m not really a fan of most comedies made today.  This one obviously spoke to my own affection for the classic trio, but the Farrellys manage to inject some of their own humor as well and the mix is absolutely hilarious.  I saw this with two other friends and honestly, we were laughing all the way through the film.  I honestly don’t know how this will play with those that aren’t familiar with the Stooges, but if you are a Stooges fan, I hope at least you’ll give this a chance.  Personally, I’d love to see the Farrellys, Diamantopoulos, Hayes and Sasso re-team and do this again.  The Three Stooges is fantastic, slapstick fun from start to finish.

By Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

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