When the Three Stooges trailer premiered, it was met with howls of derisive laughter. Slapstick in our day and age is not the preferred mode of comedy, and the appearance of the Jersey Shore cast made it seem like a disaster. But now word is out, and actually, the Farrelly Brother’s The Three Stooges movie is good. And it’s fully committed to the source material, which means it’s stupid, but engagingly so. Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos star as Larry, Curly and Moe in the update, and our review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.
The film is broken into three sections, partly because the characters work best in short bursts (which makes the film work even better at home). The film starts with the three being left at an orphanage, where they immediately torment Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David). The three grow to pre-teen years when the film shows that they’ve proved impossible to adopt, and the sisters (headed by Jane Lynch) try to get rid of them, but when one couple will only take Moe, he decides he can’t live without his brothers, and returns back.
Cut to them as adults, and Jennifer Hudson and Kate Upton have joined the orphanage, and the boys are all grown up. But their home faces foreclosure, and the trio decide it’s time to leave and find the money they need to save their home. They run across a scheming wife (Sophia Vergara) and her lover (Craig Bierko) who promise to give them the money they need if they kill her husband in his sleep. Bierko pretends to be the husband, so Curly pushes him in front of a bus. This doesn’t kill him, so they go to the hospital to finish the job (they fail again), and meet Teddy (Kirby Heyborne) who was adopted instead of Moe. He offers to help them, but Moe refuses on principle. Then it’s revealed that Vergara is married to Teddy.
The big thing about Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s Three Stooges movie is that even if you don’t find people being hit in the face all that funny (some hits are better than others), there’s no denying that they’ve recreated the tone of the material, and deliver it perfectly. Of all the film that seem either love letters or attempts to recreate something that was loved previous, this is probably the best of those films. Perhaps because expectations are lower, but there’s a real heart here. This is the best thing these guys have done since There’s Something About Mary.
It’s partly due to the casting, which is perfect. Diamantopoulos absolutely channels Moe in such a way that if you’d seen the actor in something else, you wouldn’t recognize him (there was some make up work done to make him look more Moe-ish), while Sean Hayes points out that Stimpy’s voice seems to be a recreation of Larry Fine’s. And Sasso has the right mixture of boyishness and aggressive stupidity that marks Curly.
At the end of the day I didn’t laugh that much watching this, but the audacity of it, and the fact that it works makes it an impressive accomplishment. I’m surprised as anyone that it’s good, but good it is.
Twentieth Century Fox presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, and also comes with a DVD and digital copy. Extras include eight deleted/extended scenes (9 min.), and then mostly featurettes. “What’s the Big Idea? A History of The Three Stooges” (11 min.) and “Knuckleheads: Behind the Scenes of The Three Stooges” (5 min.), walk you through the original performers and the making of this film, while “Did You Hear That? The Three Stooges Sound Effects” (4 min.), and “Poifect! Casting The Three Stooges” (9 min.) give the sound mixers and the cast their due. ”The Three Stooges Mash-Up” (3 min.) is a slapstick highlight reel while ”Original Screen Test” (4 min.) shows a test done for the studio. The theatrical trailer, which includes the edited out of the film bit where Kate Upton gets out of a swimming pool, rounds out the supplements.