Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Sorta Three Stooges

Caught the Farelly Brothers' THREE STOOGES movie last night and I was left feeling... mixed.  On the one hand, I was impressed at just how well the new cast imitated the real Stooges, especially the fellow playing Curly.  And there's a chuckle here and there as they recreate some famous Stooge routines -- they get the timing of the physical action down really well.

But the plot... I dunno.  The Stooges are imbeciles who need to somehow raise money for their failing orphanage.  Yes, I understand this hoary old device harkens back to the plots of the 30's, but boy, it's still pretty tired.  To cement the Stooges' affection for the orphanage, the movie opens with a lengthy sequence featuring 12 year old versions of the Stooges, which is just... strange.  I guess this movie answers the "nature versus nurture" question definitively... the Stooges were born demented because all the other kids in the orphanage are perky little cuties.  Also it appears that movie orphanages humor their charges by allowing them to wear weird clothes, cut their own hair (or in Larry's case, not cut) and engage in wildly inappropriate behavior that often result in painful injury to the nuns in charge.  (One of whom is played by a, sorry, wildly unfunny Larry David.)

Then things take a bizarre turn when the Stooges are approached by a devious woman who offers to pay them if they murder her husband (!).  And the Stooges agree!  I've seen virtually every original Stooges short and maybe I'm forgetting one, but I don't remember any that involved the boys agreeing to become hired killers.  Maybe it's just me, but watching Moe order Curly to grab a pillow, sneak into a hospital room where their injured victim lies and "get to smothering him, quick!" is... disconcerting.  Curly dices onions onto the victim's face, "smothering him with onions nyuk nyuk", before Moe grabs the pillow himself and goes to work. When they're interrupted, they drop a stick of dynamite into the victim's body cast and blow him up.  The guy survives with one of those exploding cigar blackface make-up jobs, but still.

Later in the same sequence, the Stooges hide out in a maternity ward full of babies and have a "pee war" grabbing babies and squirting one another with urine.   I'm guessing this was a high point for some audiences.

Maybe this would have been funnier if seen with an audience... as for me, I give the new Stooges a qualified "hmm."

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