We might be talking academy award. That is if there was an award for low brow, moronic, nonsensical slapstick. Why soy-en-lee! Okay, so it isn’t “Gone with the Wind,” but it's a lot funnier; nyuk-nyuk-nyuk. Similar to many art house movies, it isn’t for everyone. “The Three Stooges” is only for those pure of heart and dim of wit.
Sure, we understand how a reasonable person might not appreciate this particular brand of physical comedy. Three cretins with a bad hair day insulting and clubbing each other is not everyone’s idea of fun. For those who find this abomination to be laugh-out-loud funny and even gut-busting, there is something seriously wrong with us; we mean you.
The Farrelly brothers (wise guys, eh?) produce, direct and write this nostalgic tribute to the foolishness of a bygone era. They craft this spectacle into a series of one-reel shorts as then shot between 1934 and 1958 for the Saturday matinee. Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso and Sean Hayes capture the look, feel and “thonk” of our beloved trio.
As infants, the mini-stooges are left at an orphanage run by nuns, played by Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Larry David and supermodel Kate Upton. These little half-wits eventually become full-grown knuckleheads. When the orphanage is on the brink of bankruptcy, the stooges leave to raise the needed funds. After all, what could go wrong?
The misadventures begin when the dim wits unwittingly become involved in a murder for hire plot, led by the scheming Lydia Harter, played by the dazzling Sophia Vergara, who’s even more dangerous than Pippa Middleton. Lydia’s lover Mac (Craig Bierko) ends up on the wrong end of a finger poke in a series of sight gags and pratfalls.
Some say this type of humor is an acquired taste but we suspect, if not initially tolerable, it’s not going to get much better over time. But thankfully, others have a warped sense of humor and are willing to throw logic and reason out the window. The impersonations are spot on for the actors who are inexplicably fans of the lame brain genre, such as it is.
In addition to the stars capturing the look and feel of the trio, the Farrellys include a full complement of the well recognized routines, mutterings and babble that were staples in every class clown’s repertoire; nyaahhh! Some of their targets are the reality stars we all want to see get jabbed by no Moe Mr. Nice Guy. These brilliant numbskulls help us think outside of the brain with absurdity and utterly meaningless stupidity.
You might say this is the opposite of the dry humor from the Brits. Getting hit in the head with a hammer or a buzz saw is not necessarily funny. But, as they say in show business, it’s all in how the joke is told. Fortunately, the Farrellys explain during the credits that rubber mallets and weapons are used, so don’t try this at home.
The Stooges are rarely mentioned with the other classic comedic team greats, but with their longevity and fan base, they clearly should be included with Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, and Abbott and Costello (explain to your kids and grandkids). With such utterly silly violence that nobody could ever take seriously, they paved the way for other great comedians such as Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Norris.
“The Three Stooges” is 92 minutes and rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor, including language. Sophia Vergara and the Three Stooges is everything some might ever want; and they’re all in the same movie. As they say, it doesn’t get much better than that.
This movie has the feel of Saturday matinee movie shorts but updated to modern times. It is highly recommended for fans of the “violent” but silly humor. Sure, it’s not for everyone; if you have to ask, you won’t understand. Even for fans, it’s not the best movie in the world, but it’s far better than poke in the eye; nyuk-nyuk-nyuk.
Ron’s Rating: A Leigh’s Rating: B