Friday, April 13, 2012

Three Times the Chaos

The Three Stooges by the Farrelly Brothers
I kinda can't believe I'm writing this. I was never a huge fan of The Three Stooges as a kid; even as a tween, I thought they were, yes, juvenile. The question for me is: Does anybody really care about The Three Stooges anymore? I’m telling you that you should. Care, that is. The film is rated PG so they’re obviously trying for the widest possible audience.

Proviso: parents, can your kids pass The Three Stooges test? (A parent’s proudest day!) Do your kids understand that when the Stooges hit each other with hammers or poke each other's eyes, they're only PRETENDING and that this does not mean that it would be funny to try this at home? Then they've passed the test. It was the same test we had to pass way back when. Filmmakers the Farrelly brothers (played by two hunk actors) actually explain that kids shouldn’t try this at home at the end of the picture.

Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, and Larry David
In this incarnation, Moe, Larry, and Curly (played by Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso, respectively) are tossed onto the doorstep of an orphanage as babies, spend their entire lives there, and work as the orphanage’s hapless handy men, torturing the sweet-tempered nuns who run the place. They particularly torment the only nun who isn’t a sweetheart, Sister Mary-Mengela played by none other than Larry David in a full pre-Vatican II habit. It's one of the more surreal performances captured on film—ever. David plays it straight, by which I mean he doesn't alter his voice or personality one iota from the angry Larry David we know and love. It's bizarrely irresistible and he steals every scene he’s in. If you’re a fan of David’s, his performance is worth the price of admission.

The entire picture wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped, but I must say, the film works more than it doesn’t because all of the actors—including Jane Lynch and Jennifer Hudson as nuns—commit to their parts like they’re doing Shakespeare. Comedy is serious business and this cast doesn’t wink at the camera. What can I say about Sean Hayes as Larry? I can say this: I saw Sean Hayes on Broadway in Promises, Promises. When he and co-star Kristen Chenoweth decided to leave the show, the show CLOSED. Sean Hayes is that talented. He killed on Will and Grace. He kills as Larry. He kills at everything he tries. I wish he'd run for Congress. Or President. Or Pope.

The Stooges bring chaos wherever they step. But other than themselves, they only inflict pain on characters who deserve it, and the plot offers enough baddies to create a few genuinely funny classic Stooge set pieces. I like the sequence when Moe gets a spray tan and mixes it up with Snookie and the gang from Jersey Shore, who are this generation's Stooges. At the end of the day, the world needs complete and utter clowns to make us feel better about ourselves but also to remind us we ain't so grand as all that.

Sometimes you just gotta laugh, porcupine.


  1. I was really surprised that they made this movie myself. I personally never found them funny, and their humor was very outdated. I wondered what their target audience was with a remake when it seems like the ones who like to see guys hit one another over the head with a hammer were much, much older. Oh well, guess they had to give it a shot since they've remade every other old film and TV show. Thanks for letting us know what it was like.

  2. The Farrelly brothers have had this in development for ages; at one point, there were rumors that RUSSELL CROWE would be playing Moe. Can you imagine?