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Farrelly's 'Three Stooges' remake maintains good comedic acting, given modern-day twist

By Matt Goudreau
On April 17, 2012

 

To a certain extent, nostalgia always plays a factor in reviews, particularly remakes or adaptations of television shows. In my case, the original "Three Stooges" troupe is something I hold very close to my heart. I have fond memories of watching the slapstick antics of the trio with my family (well, the male side considering my mom detested it). 

Although none of them are longer with us, they certainly have left behind a legacy including almost 200 shorts and several motion pictures. When a movie was announced, I was eagerly expecting a loving homage.  After a few years of development hell and conflicting casting, I lost all hope.

I am not a huge fan of the Farrelly brothers, particularly due to their brand of gross-out comedies. However, hearing their affection for the Stooges cooled my nerves. I am happy to say that I'm glad the project was finally made with lesser-known actors, who were equally as talented.

Even before the film started, I was blown away by the three leading actors in the trailer. It seemed to me that they captured the essence of what made the Stooges work, from the mannerisms and appearance to even the violent chemistry. I was hooked until the Jersey Shore cast walked into frame, which made me want to poke my own eyes out.  I failed to understand why it had to be a modern interpretation, but I placed my fears aside and saw the movie, realizing why it was set in the new millennium.

The movie begins with the baby stooges being dropped off to an orphanage, complete with their trademark hairstyles. Within five minutes, the Stooges brand of comedy is in full effect. The three main actors embody the stooges and carry this film singlehandedly. I have to give special praise to Sean Hayes, of Will and Grace fame, as Larry.  Easily the hardest stooge to portray, Larry always seemed to be the glue that held the group together. His voice is also hardest to imitate, and Hayes is a near clone of Larry Fine. I give a large amount of credit though to the other two actors, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos, but Curly and Moe seem to be more common for impressionists. It's not an insult by any stretch, especially since they handle it so well and it takes more than a voice to get the Stooges right.

I really admire how the film is structured: although it's in three acts, they follow the traditional stooge short structure. Each part centers on a different segment of the plot, which is their attempt to save their childhood orphanage. Incorporated subplots include Moe starring in "Jersey Shore" and a murder plot of a wealthy husband. While they seem traditional stooge escapades, the "Jersey Shore" part still bothers me. It's certainly funny, but completely unnecessary placing my extreme hatred of the show aside. It shows the Farrelly brothers were trying too hard to be hip and connect with a new audience.

For a longtime stooge fan, this film delivers the trademark humor but certainly doesn't break any new ground. It plays it safe which works because I'm certain that the directors didn't want to do anything sacrilegious to the Stooge legacy. While this certainly does not have the same ingenuity or creativity, it's a loving and affectionate homage that actually had me laughing almost as much as the old sketches from my youth.


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