Matthew LawThe Three Stooges – 20th Century Fox; 2012
No one would ever be able to successfully remake the comedy classics from innovators such as The Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy. So the idea that the Farrelly brothers thought The Three Stooges – one of the most popular North American television shows ever – could be successfully re-imagined seems absurd.
The Three Stooges sees Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso take on the legendary characters of Moe, Larry, and Curly. The three set out to earn enough money to save their childhood orphanage from financial ruin, and, just like in the original Stooges, constantly get caught
up in crazy antics along the way. To start with, it must be said that the casting of this is a success. Diamantopoulos, Hayes, and Sasso are fantastic, and truly do justice to the famous performances of their predecessors. Unfortunately though, this is pretty much the only aspect of The Three Stooges that is successful. It lacks the charm of the original short films, and the plot is boring and provides little to no areas that would grip a viewer, either adult or child. The humour, like the plot, is out-dated and lazy. Yes, it has classic Stooges slapstick, but it proves to be a type of comedy that is past it’s sell-by date. After the first few hammer hits to the head by Moe, everything becomes quite repetitive and drawn out, an area that is not helped by the fact that the film is split into acts, which seems to be a way for the writers to escape having to construct a consistent screenplay. The only modernisation in comedy that occurs in the new Stooges is an extreme amount of cringe-worthy toilet humour which your average six year old would fail to crack a smile at. An example of this is a scene that lasts several minutes in which the boys are urinated on by a bunch of babies. A sequence that appears out of nowhere and that makes you feel sorry for the writers, if this is what they consider quality humour. It must also be noted that there are several aspects of the film that a lot of Stooges fans will likely find shameful. One of which is an undertone of anti-Catholicism throughout. Taken to an uncomfortable extreme during the first five minutes when it is revealed that one of the nun’s names is Sister Mengele. The second name being a reference to the Nazi officer responsible for the human experimentation atAuschwitz concentration camp, a “joke” that frankly no one would expect to see in a Disney children’s film. Honestly, this film is awful, it is as simple as that. Though, it must be said that it is targeted at a select group of viewers: those who still find the classic humour of the Stooges funny in a time when it is a lot harder to make people with reasonable intelligence laugh. Still, it is a recognisable type of humour, and combined with the accurate portrayals of Moe, Larry, and Curly, this is a film that you will either love or hate.