The Three Stooges cleverly revives the original's magic
Starring Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, and Chris Diamantopoulos. Rated PG.
Like most males of my generation, I grew up with a bad case of Three Stooges fever. As a kid, I worshipped Larry, Moe, and Curly, who—despite suffering from such grown-up preoccupations as the 5 o’clock shadow and male pattern baldness—had somehow managed the nifty trick of avoiding adulthood altogether. What can you say about three middle-aged guys whose idea of mature conflict resolution is the classic two-finger eye poke?
Eventually, I abandoned the broad physical comedy of the Three Stooges for the dizzying wordplay of the Marx Brothers. But recently I heard that another set of brothers—codirectors Bobby and Peter Farrelly—were set to revive the whole Stooge thing. That’s when I began to get the fever all over again. My only concern: would the Farrellys get the level of blissfully dumb slapstick just right?
I needn’t have worried. The new Stooges (Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes as Larry, and B.C.’s own Will Sasso as Curly) are so close to the original trio that it’s almost like going back in time. One of the real achievements here is that the Farrelly brothers go old-school, taking great pains to pay tribute to a golden age of stupidity.
There’s even a storyline of sorts: the Stooges attempt to raise money to save the orphanage they were raised in (allowing Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David to have fun playing a cranky nun). Along the way, they get involved in a murder plot that showcases Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara as a curvy femme fatale.
Does any of this matter? Not really. The story is just a framework for the kind of nose-twisting, hair-pulling humour that has always been a trademark of the Three Stooges. While there are plenty of pratfalls, everything’s kept surprisingly wholesome. It all works just like it should. And that’s a good thing.
Watch the trailer for The Three Stooges.