Farrelly "Three Stooges" Revival "Brilliant"
Country: United States
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
· Peter Farrelly
· Bobby Farrelly
· Sean Hayes
· Will Sasso
· Chris Diamantopoulos
· Jane Lynch
· Jennifer Hudson
· Sofia Vergara
· Craig Bierko
· Stephen Collins
· Larry David
· Official Website
Movie Review: The Three Stooges
by Dennis Russo
Published: April 15, 2012
In setting down to write this review of the new "Three Stooges" movie, I was trying to come up with a catchy "Stooge phrase." But try as I might, I couldn't, because the one word that kept jumping out at me was not a word generally associated with the Three Stooges, but it perfectly reflects my opinion of the movie.
Okay, two words: Soitenly brilliant.
I say brilliant, because of the three actors portraying Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Curly (Will Sasso). I went into this movie a little skeptical because I have seen many biopics, movies and television programs done about the Stooges, their movies and their lives. While all of them did a reasonably good job of having actors made up to look like the Stooges, those actors all fell short in one degree or another in capturing their voices -- not just their vocal tonalities, but also their vocal inflections and sentence building, their sense of timing and pace, along with the facial expressions and body English that tied it all together. In essence, none of those actors captured what made Moe, Larry and Curly... Moe, Larry and Curly! while some would semi-capture Curly and get close to Moe, all fell terribly short when it came to Larry, so I was very leery to see how this Farrelly Brothers movie would fare.
I am happy to say... no, I'm ecstatic to say they did it brilliantly! Not only were their voices almost dead on perfect, but all the aspects I mentioned above they nailed with such aplomb that all three of the actors I figure must be lifelong Stooge fans to be able to get all that so right. Larry was the best of all! Not only was his voice dead-on, but Sean Hayes captured all of his inflections, his delivery, and his body English that at times I forgot he wasn't really Larry.
I will also admit I was was wondering how the Farrellys would pull off a ninety minute Stooge movie, when the Stooges were famous for their shorts films. Well they did it brilliantly (there's that word again) by making the movie as three shorts tied together with the central theme of the movie. The movie has all of the classic sight gags, pratfalls and circumstances that made the Stooges famous, shown in ways we have not seen before but instantly familiar to those of us who grew up on them. The Farrellys left nothing out; everything that made a Three Stooges short a Three Stooges short is here. They even used the same low tech sound and visual effects that makes them iconicly Stooges, but add just enough of "modern effects" to make them fresh for new viewers. For instance, when they fall off a building, it is plain to see these are dummies falling. When they hit the ground, up jump the real actors. Modern effects technology enables that point between where they hit the ground and where they stand up to blend seamlessly.
Another "classic" scene shows Moe using a very realistic chain saw on Curly's head, only to see not a mark on Curly s skull; but upon looking at the saw we see the teeth all exaggeratedly bent and broken... ah, Stooge-dom at its best! It was also good to see that the Farrellys would not try to tame some of the gags down by making them PC correct. I know I'm talking about the Farrellys here, but when you talk about the Stooges and what they tend to do, there could have been points where they could have toned it down... but I'm so glad they didn't. (The baby scene in the hospital was uproariously funny with a couple of "I can't believe they did that" moments.) Couple that with the pin-point timing and complete thoroughness of the actors portrayals, and it makes you think this is the Stooges, not other actors.
Even many of the classic Stooge lines,insults and name calling are worked into the movie, and the actors are so into their characters that even lines the originals never said are delivered with such conviction that die hard fans like me could easily have heard the originals say them. So thorough and faithful is this movie in its representation of the Stooges that even the corny, fictitious business signs that were famously used throughout their movies (can anyone forget the law firm of "Dewey, Cheatum and Howe?) are used here... but not in any of the original names we remember. They have all new ones that are just as funny and more up to date.
The plot of the movie is light and hardly deep, so you do not have to work to hard to follow along. Just sit back and let the laughs roll out of you. Moe, Larry and Curly have to raise a lot of money to help the nuns and save the orphanage they've called home. From that launching point it's one roller coaster ride after another as they try and fail hilariously (as only the Stooges can fail) at different things to raise the money -- from falling into a murder plot to getting involved in a reality TV show. (A storyline that could have easily been used as an original Stooge short... Brilliant!)
If I was to say anything negative about this movie it would be that it might have started off a bit too slow for me when they were shown as kids (although the children did a great job of acting, I was anxious to see them as adults) One odd thought I can't get out of my head is that in a couple of scenes when young Moe would make one of his angry faces -- where he folds his lower lip over his upper lip -- he looked like Robert Di Nero! Later in the movie there was a short moment of sadness that I felt just shouldn't be; there's no sadness in a Stooges movie! But it did work, and it did not last for long.
I also have to give credit for the supporting cast as well. They all played excellent foils for the Stooges to act with and around. I would be remiss if I didn't make a special call out to Larry David as Sister (Yes, I said "Sister") Mary Mengele. Whoever had the idea to cast him in this role was in a word... oh I don't know... Brilliant! His acting as a crotchety nun had me in stitches!
This is a movie that the whole family can love and not feel guilty about watching, a "no-brainer" because it's the Stooges. It's classic Stooge humor brought into the 21st century so an entire new generation can embrace their style of humor and call it theirs. A perfect example of what I mean is my eleven year old daughter. She has watched the Stooges countless weekend mornings with me and, while liking them, she was never bowled over by them. She chuckled now and then but never really laughed out loud. She laughed so hard during this movie at times I was amazed. Many of the pratfalls she had seen before that never did anything for her, here with a modern twist became the funniest things she's ever seen. Perhaps the best praise I can give this movie comes from her. After the movie, on the way out, she blurted out "We are so getting this when it comes out on DVD!" What can I add add to that other than what I replied? "Why soitenly, you knucklehead!"