I believe my viewing experience of The Three Stooges: The Movie explains it all: When my family sat down to watch the Blu-ray, in one corner were my wife and 13-year-old daughter; in the other corner were my 10-year-old son and I. For the film’s brisk 90 minute running time, my son and I laughed our asses off, non-stop. For my wife, she continually looked my way and shook her head, bemused that her 42- year old husband was roaring in approval of the latest Farrelly Brothers cinematic work. As for my daughter, she rolled her eyes, sighed heavily, left the room on numerous occasions and muttered loud enough for us to hear, “I don’t get what’s so funny.”
The Three Stooges is mindless, dumb entertainment that retains the same verbally and physically abusive slapstick humor of the original Three Stooges short films. Those films began in the 1930’s and carried on into feature films and an animated series in the late 60’s. This new movie is a loving tribute by directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly and their longtime writing collaborator, Mike Cerrone, and features a trio of spot on performances by Chris Diamantopoulos as “Moe,” Madtv’s Will Sasso as “Curly,” and Sean Hayes, of Will & Grace fame, as “Larry.” All three actors inhabit the zaniness of their characters. With Sasso, you pretty much knew he could nail his oversized role. His years of perfect imitation on Madtv left no doubt in my mind that he’s be able to pull off Curly. Hayes is brilliant. His comic timing is so perfect he makes being funny look easy. The wild card was the relatively unknown Diamantopoulos, and actor probably more recognizable as the Charles Schwab spokesman than any of his film and TV work. Diamantopoulos wanted the role so badly that the good-looking actor went to his audition in ill-fitting clothes and a bad wig. His fanaticism for the Stooges paid off.
Is there a plot worth writing about? I guess. Told in three different 30-minute acts, we meet the Stooges and see them grow up in an orphanage run by nuns (played by Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Kate Upton and Larry David). When the parish priest (a gamely Brian Doyle Murray) tells them the orphanage must close due to budget costs, the Stooges set off into the real world to raise the money needed to save their family. The boys get lured into a film noir murder plot led by Sofia Vergara and Craig Bierko and Moe somehow winds up on the Jersey Shore (the lamest part of the movie). The plot isn’t important; it never was with any of the incarnations of the Stooges. What are important are the laughs. Which leads us back to my opening.
For the 10-year-old boys out there who are looking for the most ridiculous, stupid, yet (in true Farrelly Brothers fashion) big hearted comedy, The Three Stooges is a great way to spent a Saturday night. For those of you who don’t appreciate the fine art of an eye poke, armpit hair ripping or a mallet to the head, you’ll probably have the same reaction as my daughter.
The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Download release has plenty of featurettes, all of them short and informative. The Farrelly’s discuss their love of the Stooges, detail the importance of a proper Stooge sound effect, take you behind the scenes for the making of the movie, and guide us through the long evolution of the film and the lengthy casting process. There is also a good tribute to the original Stooges, which tells the story of the comedy troupes origins and evolution from supporting act to stars.