The Three Stooges (review)

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The Three Stooges red light Will Sasso Chris Diamantopoulos Sean Hayes

I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): hate the Three Stooges, hate the Farrelly Brothers

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Back in the day, you paid your nickel for an entire day at the movies, at you got cartoons and newsreels and shorts and a crappy movie and a good movie — all for five cents! It was like channel surfing cable TV all afternoon, with popcorn and without the nuclear glow of someone’s smartphone glaring into your eyes in the middle of it. The thing is: the short — such as the latest instance of Three Stooges nonsense — was part of the filler. The stuff to keep the kids diverted before the main event. The junk. But now we have this asinine, unnecessary Three Stooges feature film, the result of some overpaid, disengaged cretin in Hollywood coming to the preposterous conclusion that many people would want to see the filler shit as the main event. The stuff that people used to not really pay for but sat through while waiting for Humphrey Bogart or Cary Grant to romance Katharine Hepburn or Rosalind Russell? People would so want to pay ten bucks for that in 2012, and then buy the DVD for twice that six months later.

I need to get off this planet.

Maybe there’s some saving grace that The Three Stooges pretty much tanked in North America this spring. But still: $44 million worth of people thought this had promise. And now the movie has just opened in cinemas in the U.K., and somewhere there’s a coked-up MBA asshole in Beverly Hills who’s masturbating to the thought of global box office. For this waste of human endeavor. We need to be fixing global warming. And yet people who are probably pretty smart and consider themselves creative thinkers are spending their time on this.

There’s no reason for this movie to exist. The original Three Stooges shorts, idiotic as they were, were at least brief, and able to coast on their hindbrain-appealing slapstick… if only just barely. But here’s what you cannot do with this sort of stuff: You cannot attempt to layer on sentimentality. You cannot make these idiots poignant. The minute you want to try to make us consider that submoronic punching bags Larry, Moe, and Curly might be actual human people, you have lost. I might welcome a biopic-y film that looked at the real actors behind the Stooges — that could potentially, possibly be interesting. But put these cartoon characters — who are, frankly, less psychologically complex than Bugs Bunny — in the modern world and also simultaneously pretend that they have no concept of the modern world? That would need to be way, waaaaaaay smarter than anything anyone foists on us as comedy here.

Thirty-five years old and still living in an orphanage. No idea what an iPhone is. This is Larry (Sean Hayes: Soul Men, Igor), Curly (Will Sasso: Life as We Know It), and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), and screenwriter-director Farrelly brothers Peter and Bobby (The Heartbreak Kid, Shallow Hal) figure they can attach a plot to this — about Sofia Vergara (New Year’s Eve, Happy Feet Two) hiring them to kill her husband, holy god make it stop — and it will be acceptable entertainment to those who have achieved control of their bowels. This requires a thought process I cannot fathom.

What’s “funny” here? A man (Larry David) dressed as an orphanage nun, and he doesn’t like kids. A monsignor (Brian Doyle Murray: 17 Again, Daddy Day Camp) with armpit hair to be yanked out. A Catholic Church that has no money to keep an orphanage open, because, you know, the Church is poor. The Stooges dressed as women, and then being sexually harassed as a result. For fun!

Ladies and gentlemen, no one will be admitted during the dramatic extended baby pee-pee scene.

I imagine the “joke” about a lady’s booby honking when touched is work of someone who has never touched a lady’s booby. I mean, what other conclusion may one draw from this?

This is real end-of-times stuff, people. The morons from Jersey Shore, who might viably be considered the Stooges for our time, agreed to go along with being a butt of some of the “jokes” here, which either suggests that they are either so utterly clueless as to imagine themselves “good-natured” for “lowering” themselves to this level, or else they just don’t give a shit that they are the buffoons in virtual stockades to be pelted with rotten vegetables.

I’m gonna go curl up and sob for a while now.

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Wed, Jun 11, 2014 9:56am

How about YOU go “fix global warming” you disgusting liberal pig. You watch movies for a living. Yeah, that’s really admirable. Be proud.

Sun, Jul 05, 2015 7:44pm

Love the Stooges. With that, I had a critical eye for this movie ready to condemn it if it did not meet a level of quality required to emulate legendary comedy. Knowing what the originals were and seeing what this movie is I can say that it is very loyal to the originals and very very well executed… despite a slight lack of stooges wit and story.

With that said, reading your review, I appreciate you stating you hate the stooges and farrely bros up front. But if that is the case, then why bother to watch, or worse, review a movie. I understand you need content and click revenue but ultimately this review is as needless as you say the movie is because your inspiration is not based on the movie itself but your taste.

You are entitled to your point of view but this article should have been based on what you think of the genre and act and not the movie itself. Just because you don’t like tomatoes, it doesn’t mean its rotten. It also gives your audience the impression you are more concern with your taste than the merits of a movie. Just sayin.

reply to  Justsayin
Sun, Jul 05, 2015 9:52pm

Movies don’t always match people’s expectations. You went to see this film “ready to condemn it” because of your love for the Three Stooges. You managed to keep an open mind, and MaryAnn has sometimes given glowing reviews to films she thought she’d hate. It’s happened fairly often, in fact. She gave the Farrelly brothers a chance to defy her expectations. Sadly, they didn’t.

MaryAnn has readers who are familiar with her taste. Some of them may hate the Farrelly brothers as much as she does. Others may be more sympathetic toward them but still trust MaryAnn’s judgment. But she writes for people who are basically inclined to agree with her taste—or who are interested to hear what she has to say even when they disagree. If you don’t fall into either category, there are plenty of other critics on the Internet. I’m not saying that to condemn you or chase you away. That’s just the way criticism works: People gravitate to reviewers who have something to say to them.

MaryAnn likes to comment not just on a movie but on the culture that produced the movie. A studio paid for this movie and thought it would find an audience. So either the film tells us something about our mindset, or it proves that the studio is out of touch with its audience. If Hollywood is producing films no one wants to watch, that’s also worth discussing. I like reading MaryAnn’s reviews for that sort of cultural commentary, even when I don’t agree with her taste or—in this case—when I have no interest in seeing the movie.

MaryAnn reviews all kinds of movies, and that gives her a working knowledge of the film industry. It also gives her a wider perspective on what’s possible in film and a wider range of comparison the next time she reviews a movie. It also increases the odds that she’ll see something new and surprising. This film turned out to be neither, but I’m glad she gave it the chance to challenge her expectations.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Justsayin
Mon, Jul 06, 2015 4:09pm

It also gives your audience the impression you are more concern with your taste than the merits of a movie.

You say that like it’s bad thing.