Film review: THE THREE STOOGES from Built For Speed

The Farrelly Brothers’ film The Three Stooges is not a biopic of the comedy trio who beat each other senseless on the silver screen for 30 years but an attempt to recreate the Stooges for the present day.  This just seems wrong, the Three Stooges weren’t just generic cinema creations they were unique characters whose personalities as much as their destructive gags defined their movies.  While this film recreates all the skull crunching gags with vigour, it feels like we’re watching a cover band trying to pass themselves off as the original.  The fact that Chris Diamontopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes as Larry and Will Sasso as Curly so closely mimic the Stooges’ violent antics and mannerisms just makes the whole exercise more uncomfortable.

Whether it’s an attempt at parody or just a lack of imagination, the film employs the hackneyed story of the knuckleheads trying to raise money to save the orphanage where they grew up and disturbingly, still live.  When they become entangled in society heiress Sofia Vegara’s plan to bump off her husband, they have the opportunity to indulge their favourite activiity, wreaking havoc among New York snobs.

While those old enough to have seen the original Stooges will probably have a hard time accepting these interlopers, kids don’t have that baggage and the young’uns in the preview audience cackled with disturbing glee every time an adult was bashed on the head with a sledge hammer or had his testicles crunched by a lobster’s claw.

Also, it was kind of funny to see Mo inadvertently become a cast member of the horrendous reality TV show Jersey Shore.  Anyone who has ever wanted to see those posturing muscle head guys get smacked with microwave ovens will be thrilled.  Not surprisingly, the acting from the Jersey Shore kids is hilariously bad.

On paper the film has a fine supporting cast including Best in Show’s Jane Lynch and the Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm legend Larry David.  Unfortunately, Lynch’s role doesn’t let her unleash her famed acid tongue and Larry is hideously over the top playing – believe it or not – a nun named Sister Mary Mengelle.

This could have been a better film if the Farrelly’s had taken the route of the Brady Bunch movies and placed the Stooges in some sort of cultural context juxtaposing their wild antics with today’s political correctness.  Just cloning them the way they have here seems pointless.

Nick’s rating: Two stars.

Classification: PG

Director(s): Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Release date: 28th June 2012

Running time: 92 mins.

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