Synopsis: While trying to save their childhood orphanage, Moe, Larry, and Curly inadvertently stumble into a murder plot and wind up starring in a reality TV show.
Stars: Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso
Director: Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly
Running Length: 92 minutes
Random Crew Highlight: Gang Banger ~ Jerod Mayo
TMMM Score: (0.5/10)
Review: The first thing I have to say to you reading this review: Don’t Judge. I took one for the team (you).
With each viewing of the trailer for this big-screen version of the classic Three Stooges shorts, I would turn to my movie companion and say “I will NOT see that one…even if it’s free.” Well…I lied. I had the chance to see this for free before a screening of another movie and decided to just go for it. In some ways, I’m glad I saw this so I can say I’ve seen the worst film of 2012 when that list is released in December. In other ways…I’m wondering if the 92 minutes I spent with this waste of film will be worth it when I’m taking my dying breath.
With a mess this massive where do you start?
Do you mention the history of the piece first? In development for years, at various times Larry, Moe, and Curly were to be played by Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Paul Giamatti, Jim Carey, Benicio del Toro, Johnny Knoxville, Andy Samberg, Ben Stiller, and Tom Cruise. While none of these actors is really known for saying no to bad scripts…they deserve a round of applause for sitting out.
Instead of stars, our trio of dunderheads are played with various degrees of success by Hayes, Diamantopoulos and Sasso. Without a star in the mix the movie instantly reeks of direct-to-video badness. Presented in three “episodes” we are given the backstory of how these three came together…by being thrown out of a moving car in a duffel bag as babies. The bag lands on the steps of an orphanage run by a kindly Mother Superior (Jane Lynch who must have had to do this movie or lose custody of some family member) and various other nuns. One of the nuns is played by Larry David in a performance that should be cause for instant cancellation of his HBO show. Another nun is inexpicably played by Jennifer Hudson and when she breaks into song (of course) you wonder if Whitney Houston was unavailable (too soon?)
The stooges may grow up but they don’t get any wiser…I blame the nuns. In Episode 2 we learn that the orphanage is set to be closed unless $830,000 is raised. Of course that means that Larry, Moe, and Curly venture out into the world to try to raise it in 30 days or less. Let me tell you..a lot of stuff happens in 30 days in this here film. They get involved in a murder for hire plot, they open a free range salmon farm (not kidding) and Moe gets cast on “Jersey Shore” (really not kidding). It’s at this point the movie becomes The Eight Stooges as the entire “Jersey Shore” cast is thrown in the mix…and I can’t help but wonder what audiences five years from now will make of it all. Jokes about the “Jersey Shore” are so dated already that it won’t be long when people will forget it was a show at all.
The Three Stooges started out as a vaudeville act known for their physical comedy and creative slapstick and if the movie has anything at all to redeem itself it’s in several moments of well staged schtick. Ninety minutes of that wears thin when you consider the original shorts were about 20 minutes long. Sasso has Curly’s comedy nailed but it never goes further than a really good impression. Faring much worse is Diamantopoulos and his labored attempt to recreate Moe’s grimace and cadence…you absolutely never forget he’s acting…and it’s exhausting to watch. Worst of all is Hayes in an embarrassing career low that couldn’t even be saved by a letter in defense of him from Kristen Chenoweth to the editor of Newsweek. Craig Bierko and Sofia Vergara are in full Scooby Doo villain mode as a pair of crooks looking to the stooges to help them murder Vergara’s husband.
Here’s where I had the biggest issue – The Three Stooges is rated PG for “slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language”. This movie is SO PG-13 and absolutely not something parents should bring their kids to. The MPAA is seriously cracked if they think this movie pulled a PG – I was pretty shocked at the violence (comedic or not) on display in this film being watched by an audience full of children. People are stabbed, blown up, hit in the face repeatedly by sledgehammers and other items sure to chip a tooth. One hapless extra is even burned by two hot irons. Hey, as long as it makes people laugh it’s OK, right? Before the credits roll there is a small PSA-like ad telling kids not to try these gags at home…but since most people will be running for the door this message should have come at the beginning of the film.
There’s the other problem…for a comedy this was a laugh wasteland. The audience I saw this with were either asleep or knew better than to waste precious breath on a guffaw. In fact, it was eerily silent at some moments clearly intended to send the audience rolling.
It would be easy to blame one director for running this ship aground. With The Three Stooges..we have two. The Farrelly Brothers have, let’s face it, never made a good movie…well…Fever Pitch wasn’t too bad and There’s Something About Mary was so-so. It’s easy and justified to blame them for writing and directing this mess…but it’s time to really run them out of Hollywood for good and all.
This is such a punishingly bad film that you won’t just lose braincells by seeing the movie…I think you’ll get dumber walking BY a theater playing this. My advice would be to steer clear of any theater this is playing at until it’s out of the cinemas…which hopefully will be fast and furious.