The Three Stooges (2012)

The Farrelly Brothers, after a long stretch of production issues, have seemingly taken The Three Stooges and turned it in to their own unofficial sequel to “Dumb and Dumber.” Except the Three Stooges are now the unofficial ancestors to Harry and Lloyd, three inept and woefully moronic men unaware that everything they do is beyond social norms. The world around them is vastly different to the world they inhabit. With a shockingly respectable cast of folks like Jennifer Hudson, Jane Lynch, Larry David in drag, and model Kate Upton (mainly cast for a money shot of her in a bikini), the Farrelly’s come with all guns loaded for the sake of keeping the comedy moving non-stop. As a hardcore fan of the trio, I was open to the potential that the Farrellys would do justice to the classic comedy team, and thankfully they pull it off for the most part.

“The Three Stooges” is told in chapter much like their original films from Columbia. Every chapter is like a short from the “Three Stooges” library, and each short is violent enough to be funny, but not so violent it will garner anything above a PG-13 rating. With “Jackass” still considered popular, the Stooges are still incredibly timeless and funny, and the Farrelly Brothers channel much of what made them so hilarious. Rather than try for modern molds of Larry, Curly, and Moe, they’re still the three simps from the thirties and forties ruining every job they’re involved with. The movie takes a bittersweet turn in the opening, showing how they were left at an orphanage and through circumstances, remained together for many years. Cut to them as adults where they’re all close friends, but very destructive and shockingly clumsy.

When they learn that their beloved orphanage is closing down unless they can raise $830,000 dollars, the guys go on the road to raise the money in a month. Rich wife Lydia (the insanely sexy Sofia Vergara) and her lover Mac (Craig Bierko) are seeking someone to murder her husband, and seize his wealth. While planning, they discover the stooges on the street panhandling for work, and choose them to do their dirty work. Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, and Chris Diamantopoulos do much more than simply mimic the original comics, as they absorb their personas, and most of time they’re startling in their resemblance. Will Sasso is especially excellent as Curly, who masters every idiosyncrasy of the man including his patented back step, and twitching of the lips. “The Three Stooges” is mainly an appeal to new audiences with a nod at fans of the comedy trio, so using Curly for the big screen adventures as opposed to Shemp makes much more sense.

Often times when folks imitate the abuse from the Stooges it looks forced, but the trio are beautifully choreographed and revive these personalities for a new audience. Much of the antics from the Stooges are true to their original routines, mining some genuine laughter, including a chainsaw hacking up a wooden ladder, and a series of mishaps that lead to them nearly killing one of their house’s nuns. It isn’t all laughs as some gags go on too long. A scene in a nursery involving urinating babies is much too long and gross, while the pandering to audiences with appearances by reality show cast members is irritating. However, when the movie works, it can derive some raucous laughter as it did with me. Surely, nothing can compare to the classic shorts from the original Vaudevillian trio, but as a very respectable send up, “The Three Stooges” is worth the watch.