What do Bob Dylan's, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, It's a Shame by the Spinners and the English nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice have in common? Envelop please: The Farrelly Brothers' Three Stooges! So far at Rotten Tomato the critics are coming in a 48% and general audiences at 67% for this flick. This movie is faithful to the memory of the 3 derelicts and as one review wrote this is definitely a love letter to the Three Stooges and slapstick. The Three Stooges must have had "it" starting in 1925 and not really ending until Larry Fine's 1970 stroke permanently ended his acting career.
I give this movie a thumbs up, would see it again at some point, and yes I am embarrassed about it.
For those who say it isn't funny, you either led a deprived childhood and were not exposed to 3 stooges as a child or you just don't get slapstick nor maybe vaudeville. I laughed loud and hard at the slapstick and the entire spirit of the film had me smiling. I wish the subplot had nothing to do with an adulteress wife plotting to kill her husband for the money which gets really weird when it turns out that step dad is the one with whom she's having an affair; but of course as morality plays run their course the bad guys get theirs in the end.
Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes who plays Larry, and Will Sasso, Curly incarnate are superb. The timing, pace and editing are great. The Farrelly brothers half-way made the decision to break the film up into three film shorts rather than try to hold together a 90 minute film based on Three Stooges antics and a tired plot but I wish they had gone all the way and actually made each 27 minute segment totally different or made the film as three acts; what they did was in between and confusing enough to snap you into reality for a second trying to figure out what was going on.
The plot of the movie has the three leaving the orphanage they grew up in and inadvertently bankrupted to raise $830,000 to keep the place afloat; this actually becomes a minor supposition as they reunite with orphanage inmate Teddy, now exceedingly rich and successful, played by Kirby Heyborne, who got the filthy rich parents Moe would have gotten as a child had he not insisted on taking Larry and Curly. As movies would have it Teddy's gold-digging, unfaithful wife Lydia and her accomplice stumble upon the Three Stooges and try to enlist them to knock off husband and childhood friend to the Stooges Teddy.
Sophia Vergara is not only sexy with her Hispanic self but turns in a great performance as cheating wife, Lydia who would be a great roll model of strength for girls, except for that cheating thing. My daughter noted the strength and fearlessness of the character in several situations throughout the movie. I guess she was almost a female Snidely Whiplash... but more pragmatic, just a girl tryna get paid. It is so fun when beautiful women don't take their beauty seriously as she shares in the site gags like everyone else.
One very fun and interesting character was Sister Mary Mangele played by actor Larry David... don't worry most of the adults didn't figure it for half the movie so your kids are safe, this was more a typical vaudeville decision than anything else...
As odd as it was to see Jennifer Hudson in this flick playing a singing nun (I guess Whoopi was busy) her character worked well and I think it would have worked better had she not sang. She did a decent job with her lines but she looked terrible, thin and mannish.
The new stooges don't imitate the original they more like channel them, totally comprehending the essence of their characters. One minor flaw in the movie is at a couple of places the movie tries to delve into melodrama attempting to build empathy and give the three way more depth than anyone woud dare suspect they had, it is fleeting, and does serve to keep the film light-hearted; it would have been easy for the film to turn mean spirited at several junctures but it stealthily avoids these traps.
I am discounting the detractors it seemed to me these folks gave in to preconceived ideas or are not the type of reviewers to ignore their tasted to see what the movie is.
I don't understand complaints about nothing being new in one breath and then in the next breath referring to Jersey cast and an iPhone joke as not being in keeping with the old Three Stooges. The movie does not introduce modern day elements as references the movie lives in the times in which it is created. The Jersey Shores cast is the perfect segway from the 30's, 40's, and 50's era Three Stooges to the Stooges of 2012 the parallels should be more than apparent; at the very least it should be apparent that no chasm separates the stooges and Jersey Shore except the stooges were much better actors and not mean and self absorbed.
One very odd and fun thing is that after the end of the film before the credits the Farrellies do a "don't try this at home" joint showing the hammers to be rubber and how the eye poking is done. One of the brothers (I assume it was one of the brothers, Pete) comes out in an opened shirt bouncing his pecs up and down for the cameras, guy lovers bring your smelling salts.
Shortly after as the credits start to role the Three Stooges sing the Spinners classic, "It's a Shame." with the help of Jennifer Hudson which is a blast, weird but a blast.
After I wrote this I found Pretty Much It at youtube which to me was the best video review out there.