I feel it is important to point out that I loathed the original Three Stooges shows and movies. I never, ever thought any of it seems even remotely funny. I found no humor in the constant violence (no matter how farfetched and silly) and the utter stupidity exuded by these three idiotic men. That said, each time my nearly eight-year-old grandson saw the trailer he spouted “I want to see that, Meema!” And his PawPaw wanted to see it too. Ugh! I knew I had to go to the screening, to review it and to allow my guys the experience. At the last minute PawPaw bailed, but Case and I went on without him. To his delight (and mine because of him), the film brought many chuckles to my young plus one.
The film opens in an orphanage, where soon a duffle bag is tossed from a speeding ‘68 Impala to the feet of one of the nuns (oddly played by Larry David – a perplexing and asinine choice), Sister Mary-Mengele, who over the years with the boys takes all sorts of physical abuse. These ugly babies grow up (nightmares as children and unadoptable) at the orphanage and as adults, when the orphanage risks closure, Larry (Sean Hays), Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) and Curley (Will Sasso) leave the sisters and head out to try to earn the $830,000 needed to save the home. Out in the world, the trio of imbeciles happen upon a couple (wildly played by voluptuous Sofia Vegara and Craig Bierko), who seek murderers for hire and look to the threesome. What ensues is a mess of mayhem, madness, twists and constant eye poking, head banging, face slapping and complete silliness. Wars with peeing babies, multiple shots to the head, dynamite and guest cameos by the cast of Jersey Shore, all add to the asininity that is the modern Three Stooges.
To be fair, Hays, Sasso and Diamantopoulos do the Stooges perfectly – every mannerism, each crazy punch, pratfall, poke and predictable gag mimics those of their predecessors. In that vein the lead cast excels. As with the originals, the story overall is stock and unsurprising, but the cast, which includes Glee’s Jane Lynch (as Mother Superior), Jennifer Hudson (wasted, even when give an opportunity to sing) as Sister Rosemary and Steven Collins as Mr. Harter, a lawyer who almost adopts Moe, but can’t take all the boys so takes another child, Teddy (Kirby Heyborne) instead. All of these quirky (and stereotypic) characters play into the plotline, leading to totally ridiculous (as is expected) finale.
Case loved it, giggling with glee, laughing at the hits and pokes and falls and that made sitting through what I think is a awful film concept nearly worth it. I do give credit to the Bobby and Peter Farrelly (who co-wrote with Mike Cerrone) for nailing the characters, slapstick and the silliness of the Stooges and for offering a lesson in rubber props (hammers large and small for example) to the youngsters in the audience as the credits roll. Case appreciated that too. This contemporary Three Stooges is what it is and does what it sets out to do – I presume to introduce a new generation of folks to the antics of the iconic idiots. Therefore, I feel inclined to place a C+ in my grade book. I’d rather eat worms that sit through it again, but it will have an audience (mainly men of the Stooges generation and boys) and I heard plenty of laughter in the screening.