Movie review: “The Three Stooges”

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(There are spoilers in this review.  Read on at your peril.  Oh, what am I saying?  It’s a comedy.  Read on anyway.)

 

 

I have been a lover of the Three Stooges for fifty years.  I remember a children’s-show host on 1960s Portland TV – Mister Duffy, a portly ringmaster with a black top hat – explaining to us kids that the Stooges did not use real hammers and shovels and baseball bats to clonk one another on the head, and that little children should not hit each other with shovels and baseball bats in any case.

 

 

Well, hmph. That took all the fun out of it.

 

 

You either love the Stooges or you don’t.  There’s a common belief that the Stooges are a masculine taste, and that women don’t like them.  Honeychild, I am the least masculine thing in the world.  Any day now, I expect daisies to sprout from my ears.  And I love the Stooges.

 

 

Anyway, Partner and I saw the preview for the new Stooges movie a few weeks ago – lots of crashing and whacking and banging – and both of us confided to the other that we needed to see this movie.

 

 

Well, we saw it yesterday, and we both liked it.  The physical humor was raw and inspiring and beautifully choreographed: people thrown under street sweepers, lots of pirouetting lunges and slaps and kicks, lunatic dance steps, people getting hit on the head with church bells.  The Farrelly brothers – local Rhode Island boys who have made lots of stupidly wonderful movies like “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary” – have put their personal stamp on the movie: you hear a fragment of Jonathan Richman’s song “Road Runner” near the opening of the movie (Jonathan, in case you don’t know, was the crazy guitar-playing narrator in “There’s Something About Mary”); at another point you hear part of an advertisement for Al Cerrone Chevrolet Buick (Al Cerrone is a brother to Mike Cerrone, who co-wrote the movie). 

 

 

And so on.

 

 

Casting: four stars.  Chris Diamantopoulos, of whom I had never heard, is the perfect Moe, intense and jut-jawed (and, as Partner pointed out, much better-looking than the original Moe Howard).  Sean Hayes (Jack from “Will and Grace”) is a manic Larry.  And one of my personal favorites, the gigantic Will Sasso (whom I remember very fondly from “MADtv,” where he did wonderful sendups of people like Kenny Rogers and Randy Newman), is a big bouncy fighting yelping Curly.  We get Larry David in drag as Sister Mary Mengele, and Sofia Vergara as an evil housewife, and Craig Bierko doing his usual seductive-weasel routine, and Stephen Collins (the poor man’s Robert Wagner) as a scheming lawyer, and Isaiah Mustafa (remember those Old Spice ads with the unbelievably handsome black man?) as a grinning reality-TV executive.

 

 

Now the bad stuff.

 

 

The movie slows to a crawl repeatedly.  It insists on character development!  It gets sentimental!  (I thought it was a good sign early in the movie when the orphanage kids began to sing, and Larry David / Sister Mary Mengele ordered them to shut up.  There’ll be none of that, I thought.  Sadly, there was far too much soupy sentiment in the movie.  We needed a lot more of the acidulous Sister Mary, and of characters like the bulldog nurse who chases the boys through a hospital.  The Stooges were always a lot more fun when they were either hitting someone or running away from someone. Especially in disguise, and most especially in drag.)

 

 

So: overall, the movie is a little good, a little bad.

 

 

But listen: if you have ever longed to see the “Jersey Shore” crew get the crap beaten out of them, this is the movie for you.

 

 

And who hasn’t longed for that? 


 

 

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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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