“The Three Stooges” have been part of Americana for over 80 years. Most homage’s to the troika of physical comedians have come in the form of badly done biographical features. Thankfully, reruns have kept the Stooge fan pool consistently stocked. Writers Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, and Mike Cerrone have lovingly crafted a screenplay which vaults the Stooges into the modern day.
The film opens on the grounds of a Catholic orphanage. A mysterious duffel bag is thrown from a moving car and lands on the steps of the orphan’s asylum. Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David) opens the bag to only have two fingers poked into his err her eyes, which forces her back and over the cement wall. Next, the audience sees three baby boys with distinct Stooge haircuts sitting innocently in the bag on the stoop.
Told in a three part story arc, “The Three Stooges” is witty with more than its share of slapstick humor. With the boys being at the orphanage for over 35 years of their lives, it is amusing to see how they cope when they meet the modern day world or when the world meets them. In comparison to the original “Blues Brothers” film, Moe, Larry, and Curly embark on a mission to raise $830,000 in order to bail out their beloved orphanage from foreclosure. In the process, they get involved in a murder plot, and wind up on their own reality show.
“The Three Stooges” had the capacity to fail with the storyline being far from original, but it does take a slap at resolving any obstacles in only the way the stooges could. It’s funny! There are a few belly laughs, and the comedic timing between actors Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe,) Sean Hayes (Larry,) and Will Sasso (Curly) is uncanny. They play off of each other with musical-like precision, which usually involves someone getting whacked. Some of the funnier moments include fixing the church bell, comments on Larry’s haircut, meeting and beating Monsignor Ratliffe (Brian Doyle-Murray,) encountering a street gang, a hospital visit, climbing into the zoo, feeding a dolphin and helping a lion, eating lobster, crashing a party, Moe meets and stays with the cast of the “Jersey Shore,” and in general the boys drive Sister Mary-Mengele to the brink of insanity.
The Farrellys think the stooges are the funniest guys who ever lived and wanted to honor their work. Instead of taking the material from the original stooges, they created their own. They were meticulous about casting the film, and wanted actors who would portray the original trio spot on without adding their own take on them. Diamantopoulos, Hayes, and Sasso delivered and are terrific at making “The Three Stooges” come back to life.
As a note, there are extras in the credits so stay in your seats. Also, a warning by the “directors” (actors Antonio Sabato, Jr., and Justin Lopez) is attached to the end of the film in order to educate youngsters on how some of the stunts were performed in the feature so they won’t walk out of the theater imitating some of the slapstick gags in the film. The Farrellys wanted to make it clear that “The Three Stooges” is a family movie.
“The Three Stooges” opens on Friday, April 13th, and stars Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson, Craig Bierko, Stephen Collins, Larry David, Kirby Heyborne, Carly Craig, Kate Upton, Marianne Leone, Brian Doyle-Murray, Antonio Sabato, Jr., Justin Lopez, and the cast of the “Jersey Shore.” Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, and Mike Cerone wrote the screenplay, while Peter and Bobby Farrelly direct. The film is rated PG.