Movie review: The Three Stooges
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 23:04
Bringing “The Three Stooges” to the screen has been a labor of love for director-producer team Bobby and Peter Farrelly. In a decade’s worth of pre-production, the movie has seen multiple rewrites and a great deal of cast reshuffling. At one point, names as prestigious as Benicio del Toro, Jim Carrey and (inexplicably) Sean Penn were attached to the project. So credit the duo for their effort, because you won’t be able to credit them for much more than that. Even with a running time of 92 minutes, “The Three Stooges” is bound to be one of the most tedious moviegoing experiences of the year.
The film’s plot unfolds in a series of short vignettes bound together by a central conflict. The Stooges (Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso) were raised in a Catholic orphanage and never left because nobody would adopt them. Now they must raise $800,000 to save their childhood home from foreclosure. Their desperation and stupidity leads them head-on into a murder plot, where a nefarious trophy wife named Lydia (Sofia Vergara) promises them the money in exchange for doing away with her older husband. However, we know that neither the husband nor any of the Stooges will ever be in danger—before long the film descends into a jumbled mishmash of eye-pokings, pratfalls and “Jersey Shore” cameos. Wait, what? Trust me, you don’t know the half of it.
The core problem with this film is that it’s just not funny (then again, I never found the original Stooges to be any match for the equally old but much better work of the Marx Brothers or Abbot & Costello). Oh sure, there are smiles to be found here and there, and even a brief chuckle or two. The majority of them come from “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Larry David, acting in drag as the orphanage’s mother superior, Sister Mary-Mengele. But the bits concerning the Stooges themselves are stale and tiresome. The Farrelly Brothers’ trademark brand of gross-out humor, which was so vital to past successes like “Dumb and Dumber” and “Hall Pass,” is undercut by the kid-friendly PG rating. The directors’ hearts were in the right place in trying to adapt this material, but the road to cinematic hell is paved with good intentions.