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Film review: 'Stooges' not as good as the original

By Shawn O'Neill

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, April 12 2012 6:52 p.m. MDT

The Farrelly brothers are a rare breed — two brothers who write, direct and produce films. They work together and have made some very funny films. Many people remember “Dumb and Dumber” and “Fever Pitch.

Now they have released their latest movie, “The Three Stooges: The Movie.”

At the beginning of this film, a bag is dropped off at an orphanage, and inside are three little boys, Larry, Curly and Moe. These three get into a lot of trouble due to their simplistic ways of thinking. They try to help around the orphanage but they seem to always mess things up and hurt each other in the process.

At one point, a family decides to adopt Moe, but he won’t go unless they take all three of them. The family takes Moe back and adopts a different child.

Years later, it seems the orphanage needs more than $800,000 to stay open. It turns out Larry, Curly and Moe have caused so many accidents that no insurance company will cover the orphanage unless the money is paid. The three set out to raise the money, and they have one month to do it.

This film was a disappointment. If you are a fan of The Three Stooges, you may want to stay away from this film. Watching the original Stooges is fun, and these are not the original Stooges. They do attempt the same pranks, pratfalls and slapstick, but it is not the same. This film tries to modernize the Stooges, and it really does not work.

This project has been in the works for years; Sean Penn was interested, as was Jim Carrey. Even Benicio Del Toro was cast as Moe at one point. It is great to pay tribute to the Stooges, but they were masters at what they did, and as this film proves, no one can copy their work.

This film really had some problems — one was use of the cast. Jane Lynch plays the mother superior at the orphanage, and she was not allowed to be funny at all. The Stooges, Larry (Sean Hayes), Curly (Will Sasso) and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) didn’t work well together. They may have learned the repertoire of the Stooges, but their delivery was not as good.

Then there is the comedy, which really is not funny in this film. Using babies as squirt guns is gross and not funny at all. Watching three minutes of it is really not a good use of time in a movie. I realize the original Stooges' shorts didn’t have much of a plot, but this film has even less.

There is not a lot of foul language in this film, which is one of the refreshing things about the movie. Unfortunately, the potty humor is over the top, and there is also some suggestive humor. If you know the Stooges, you will realize there is a lot of physical comedic violence. As for sexuality, Kate Upton, who plays one of the nuns, is seen poolside in a revealing swimsuit.

This film may be paying tribute to the Stooges, but it does not come close to the humor they so brilliantly gave us. The Stooges suffered for their art in physical and financial pain, but they gave it their all. This movie should have just given up.

Shawn O'Neill is the Family Man Movie Reviewer on BYU Radio. His reviews can be heard on BYURadio.org and on SiriusXM Channel 143.

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