Directors: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
Starring: Sean Haynes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch, Larry David.
Written by: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly and Mike Cerrone.
Running Time: 92 mins
Release date: 22nd August 2012
The Three Stooges came at a time when screen comics were king. The Marx Brothers had their mix of the surreal; Abbott and Costello managed to produce smart plays on words with a dash of slapstick. The Stooges were all slapstick and nothing else. With their trademark exaggerated sound effect for every slap, poke and hit, there series of short features, usually played before a main film, were short enough to be bareable and funny. So now we have a 90 minute slapstick filled comedy that tips its hat to the three comic creations.
It has taken years for a homage to the screen slapstick comics of the 40s to hit the screen. Everyone from Sean Penn to Johnny Depp to Jim Carrey were offered the chance to play one of the three. So the Farrelly Brothers, responsible for some of the biggest hits of the 90s (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary) were given responsibility and chose three almost unknowns (apart from Will And Grace’s Sean Haynes) to take the parts of Moe, Curly and Larry. Maybe having bigger names would have made a better movie.
Moe, Curly and Larry are three orphans at a home run by nuns. Years later, their accident prone antics are forcing the place to be closed down unless they can raise $830,000. So out into the big, wide world they go, naively believing they can get the money by working. They become the perfect stooges for Lydia, a woman who wants her husband killed so she can live a life with her lover. The boys, thinking that her lover is her husband, accept the job and sets up a series of events that may never get them the money.
Borrowing the plot-line from The Blues Brothers, this is one of those comedies that you really want to work because you do have affectionate memories of the originals and in the hands of the Farrellys, there maybe a chance of it being funny. The trouble is, The Stooges really only worked in short bursts, like their mini features. Here the joke is dragged out, so once you’ve seen one poke in the eye, you’ve seen them all.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the gags work. There is invention here, for example, tying a tow-rope to the back wheel of a tricycle cause good comic effect and a couple of lines made me chuckle “Here comes those three idiots!” “The Kardasian girls? Where?” On the whole, though, there wasn’t enough originality to last the full length. What also fails miserably is the inclusion of the Jersey Shore cast, which made we wonder, do they really need any more publicity?
The three actors taking on the roles of Moe, Curly and Larry do amazing jobs and their comic timing is sometimes impeccable. Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Haynes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly) are almost uncannily like the originals and they play off each other extremely well. Add to the show, Jane Lynch as the Mother Superior but is given very little to do and Larry David, completely unrecognisable as Sister Mary-Mengele, the film does have pedigree that should have helped carry it. Alas, it doesn’t.
I know that the film is aimed at a much younger audience and its trying to introduce to them a great comedy team of the past but this comes across as a low-rent version of Home Alone and as for the unbelievably cheesy ending, I really wanted to vomit. What did disappoint was that the Farrellys are famous for their bad taste, gross-out humour, even failed to get laughs out of a scene in which babies are used in an elaborate water fight (guess where the water is coming from) and even kicking a toddler across the floor didn’t raise a smile.
For those wanting to relish comedy of days gone by, best look for your entertainment elsewhere, for this would have worked much better had it been 20 minutes long but at 92, it played more on my patience and I just wanted to get up and slap the three leads as well as everyone else in the film. Oh and the very last part of the film, in which we are patronisingly told not to try any of the stunts at home, really pushed me to the point of picking up a sledgehammer and continuously hitting myself about the head.