¨Will work for $830,000, no job too small. We'll pres your shirts. We'll shine your shoes. We'll raid your fridge and drink your booze.¨
The Three Stooges were the kings of slapstick comedy during the early 30`s and continued to have success until the 60`s. They were amongst the greatest comedians in early film history along with Charles Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, and Buster Keaton who all wrote the book on this genre of film. The Farrelly brothers were also huge fans of the trio so they decided to make an original film in homage to the kings of knucklehead comedies. Fans of the Stooges might be impressed, I on the other hand didn`t find the film all that hilarious. I laughed at very few scenes, although I did admire some of the wit. The problem is that I was familiar with most of the gags and I find it hard to laugh at a same joke twice. I wasn`t really a fan of the original Three Stooges, but I still admired their work. If anything works in this film it`s the addition of the Jersey Shore cast to remind us how terrible television has gotten, and how far away we are from the early years where truly talented actors dominated the screen. Nowadays, with reality television no particular talent is needed and Jersey Shore is proof of that. Seeing the Three Stooges interact with the reality cast was a reminder of this. The cast was pretty good, although none of the actors are real film stars: Sean Hayes is known for his work in Will and Grace, Will Sasso for MadTV, Jane Lynch for Glee, Larry David for Seinfeld, and Sofia Vergara for Modern Family. They were funny and reminded us that some TV series actually do work and we don`t have to fall for all those reality television stars.
Larry (Sean Hayes), Curly (Will Sasso), and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) grow up in an Orphanage run by Mother Superior (Jane Lynch). At first the nuns were excited about the arrival of the triplet babies, but when the film moves ten years forward none of them want anything to do with the kids. They mean trouble and no one can handle them, especially Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David) who wants to call it quits. They design a plan to get the boys adopted, but no one ever chooses them. The movie then jumps 25 years forward where we see the Stooges as grown men still living in the Orphanage working in Maintenance. Mother Superior, Sister Mary-Mengele, and Sister Rosemary (Jennifer Hudson) are still there as well and ironically haven’t aged one bit. Things change for the Stooges when Monsignor Ratliffe (Brian Doyle-Murray) arrives to deliver the bad news: There is no money to finance the orphanage any more, if they don’t come up with 830,000 thousand dollars in a month they will lose it. That is when the three stooges go on a mission to raise the money and save the place. For the first time in their lives, Larry, Curly, and Moe set their foot in society and have no clue as to how to raise the money, but their lives change when they meet Lydia (Sofia Vergara) who offers them the money if they kill her husband. All sort of misunderstandings take place as the three stooges try to find a way to save their beloved orphanage.
The Farrelly brothers’ comedy, There is Something About Mary, changed modern comedies in the 90`s. It was one of my favorite comedies at the time and many comedies have been shaped by it ever since. Unfortunately, the Farrelly brothers haven’t been able to match the success of that film and have been on a downhill slope since then. The Three Stooges had some hilarious moments, but unfortunately the great jokes were too spread out apart and mixed with some terrible scenes that didn’t work and killed the momentum (for instance the baby diaper changing scene). It was unfortunate because the cast was pretty good. The three actors who played the stooges had the physical appearance of the original ones and really gave funny performances. The problem I have with these slapstick comedies is that once you`ve seen one hilarious movie about the Stooges then you`ve seen them all. There is nothing new to add to the premise which always includes a lot of eye-popping, slapping, smacking each other over the head with a hammer, and so on. If you see it for the first time the gag is hilarious, but watching the same act over and over again gets old. The Three Stooges wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t a memorable comedy either. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you are a die hard Three Stooges fan.