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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

The Three Stooges (review)

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.


The Three Stooges (2012)
US/Can release: Apr 13 2012
UK/Ire release: Aug 22 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated NN: just say no to nyukleheads
MPAA: rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language
BBFC: rated PG (contains dangerous behaviour, but in a slapstick context)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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