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Film Review : The Three Stooges

Apr 15, 2012 12:52PM ● By Justin Buettner

Larry, Curly, and Moe make their return to the silver screen in this relaunch of the Three Stooges. The movie starts from the begging following the trio as they are abandoned at the orphanage doorstep. Never being adopted, the three live their lives among the nuns until the orphanage is threatened with foreclosure. The Stooges vow to go out and get the 830,000 dollars to keep the orphanage open. Out In the real world the Stooges are approached by an evil wife of a rich lawyer who tricks them to murder her husband for the money they seek.

The attempt to bring back the Three Stooges is a noble if not misguided mission. The Farrelly Brothers have spent the last five to six years trying to bring this film to the big screen and at times had big named talent attached to the project including Jim Carrey and Sean Penn among others. The cast they settled upon did a great impersonation of the Stooges. They looked the part and acted the part, down to the mannerisms and the voices. Most of the movie did its level best to keep the same humor and charm of the original with some success at times. The question that this film left me with was who did they make it for? Ultimately the movie plays as a reboot of the characters for the youth, but do the young people of today want to see these characters? While much of the hijinx is kid safe the main plot about a wife trying to assassinate her husband is not necessarily kid movie fodder. The movie really didn’t commit to the youth audience while certainly understanding it would never satisfy the fans of the original who are generally baby boomer aged and older. What we as audience are left with is a strange mix.

The Three Stooges is at its best when the Stooges are doing their standard shtick, namely trying to do right with bad results leading to the three of them beating on each other. Whenever the movie tries to step beyond what made the Stooges so loved, it fails. This includes a terrible opening scene showing the Stooges as kid orphans and definitely the ill advised baby changing scene where the Stooges use the babies as squirt guns for all intensive purposes (I won’t elaborate, but it’s a very bad scene). The basic elements of the Stooges trying to save the orphanage works great. The subplot with the bitter wife’s attempt to hire the Stooges to kill her husband is so out of place its painful to watch. There are comical parts along the way that make you laugh and then there are parts that just don’t work. This movie is truly a mixed bag.

The Stooges style of comedy worked great back in the day because there was never malicious intent in their actions. They also tried to do what’s right even if they failed. There was an innocence to their bad behavior and it matched the time they existed. The Three Stooges was at its worst when it was trying to incorporate the Stooges into modern times. This included several stupid references to modern technology and in particular the Jersey Shore material that didn’t work for me at all. I have to say I missed the black and white, and I missed the 1940’s charm of the original too. There’s definitely something nostalgic about the Three Stooges that the new film simply was unable to capture.

If you are a true Three Stooges fan then just play the classic episodes, they are infinitely better. This new movie was made to introduce the Stooges to new fans. Hopefully the film will encourage a new generation to see the old classics, but I doubt many will be holding their breath to see additional sequels of the new trio.  

Films like The Three Stooges : The Brady Bunch Movie, The Little Rascals, and Dennis the Menace

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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