Directed by: Peter & Bobby Farrelly.
Witten by: Mike Cerrone and Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly.
Starring: Sean Hayes (Larry), Will Sasso (Curly), Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Jane Lynch (Mother Superior), Sofía Vergara (Lydia), Jennifer Hudson (Sister Rosemary), Craig Bierko (Mac), Stephen Collins (Mr. Harter), Larry David (Sister Mary-Mengele), Kirby Heyborne (Teddy), Carly Craig (Mrs. Harter), Kate Upton (Sister Bernice), Marianne Leone (Sister Ricarda), Brian Doyle-Murray (Monsignor Ratliffe).
I have to admit that I am not a fan of The Three Stooges. Whenever I come across them on TV – and AMC plays them pretty much every morning I catch a few minutes quite often – they just seem like three morons hitting each other repeatedly. I know that is their charm – that is why people like them. But in my limited exposure to them, it seems like everything they did was interchangeable – the same thing over and over and over again. And yet, you have to kind of respect their legacy. After all, they started as a vaudeville act all the back in 1925 – and here we are 87 years later people still love the Stooges. I may not be a big fan, but you have to respect something that remains this popular for this long. The best thing I can say about the Farrelly Brothers movie version is that if you are a fan of the original Stooges, you will like this new version. If however you’re like me, you may find this movie a very long 92 minutes.
The movie, like many of the Stooges shorts, centers on the Stooges in the midst of a scheme. This time they need to raise $830,000 in order to save the beloved orphanage where they grew up. So they head off to the city to try to strike it rich – and quickly get involved in a complicated murder for hire scheme when they are approached by Lydia (Sofia Vergara) who wants them to kill their husband. It’s not really murder because her husband is dying, and doesn’t want to suffer. She even introduces them to Mac (Craig Bierko), the man she says is her husband. We know she’s lying, but the Stooges, of course, have no idea. What follows is impossible to believe – but that’s not really the point is it? The point is to string together a bunch of scenes where Larry, Curly and Moe screw things up and hit each other – and everyone else around them. In the real world, everyone in the movie would be dead 10 times over, but the Stooges aren’t about realism.
It must be said that Sean Hayes, who plays Larry, Will Sasso, who plays Curly and Chris Diamontopoulos, who plays Moe are all very good in their roles. Yes, it would have been fun to see the people who were supposedly originally cast – Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Jim Carrey – play the iconic roles, I doubt they could have done a better job than these three much lesser known actors. While the original cast may have brought a new spin on the Stooges, the three who ended up being cast do pretty much spot on impressions of the original trio. No, they don’t add any depth to the characters – but is there any real depth to be mined out of three idiots who hit each other in the head repeatedly. All three are gifted physical comedians, and they have good chemistry together. They may not have been the names the Farrelly's – or the studio who undoubtedly would have preferred bigger stars – wanted, but all things considered, what ends up on screen is about as good as could be expected.
As a modern version of The Three Stooges, the Farrelly’s undoubtedly made the movie they wanted to make, and it is as good as a tribute as there could possibly be. If you’re a fan of the Stooges, I truly do not think you’ll be disappointed by this movie. Not only are the three stars quite good, but there are gifted comedic actors all around them – Vergara is quite good as the scheming wife, Jane Lynch is in fine form as the Mother Superior in charge of the orphanage and best of all is Larry David as the ingeniously named nun Sister Mary Mengele, who takes the brunt of the abuse, all accidental, from the Stooges.
I cannot really say that The Three Stooges is a bad movie – it is precisely the movie that the Farrelly’s wanted to make. But I do have to say that the movie isn’t for me. I get bored watching a 15 minute of the original Three Stooges – so you can imagine how bored I was throughout the 92 minutes of this film. The Farrelly’s have made a film for fans of the Three Stooges – but not one that is going to convert non-believers.