My husband says enjoyment of slapstick is a sign of early childhood head trauma. I don’t know where he got that, but that’s what he says every time I laugh at some Three Stooges-type scene. I guess I must’ve taken a pretty good whack to the head at some point because I got tickled watching the trailer for this movie.
As a child, I saw a lot of “Three Stooges” reruns on television. Back in the olden days (for all you youngsters out there) cartoons were reserved for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings. During the week, afternoon programming consisted of reruns of old shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Addams Family,” and shorts like “The Little Rascals” and “The Three Stooges.” As a result, I grew up a Three Stooges fan.
Given how many old television shows and shorts have been made into movies, it wasn’t a surprise to find out “ The Three Stooges” had caught a filmmaker’s fancy. Honestly, I do not believe there is any way they could’ve done Larry, Moe and Curly justice, but I hope the movie is not as stupid as it probably is.
The film begins with Larry, Moe and Curly being dropped off at an orphanage. Later on, the grown up stooges get involved in a murder plot while trying to save the orphanage. They also somehow get involved with a reality television show. They end up saving the day by rescuing a childhood friend and, of course, the orphanage.
Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune liked the casting, but cautioned, “absurdly brutal slapstick is a tough thing to sustain across a feature. “
Mick LaSalle of My San Antonio had harsher criticism.
“It's just not enough to say that ‘The Three Stooges,’ the latest from the Farrelly Brothers, is the death of comedy. Rather, it's the death, burial and decomposition of comedy,” he wrote.
LaSalle is also a fan of the original “Three Stooges” and, like Phillips, praised the casting. According to LaSalle, the movie is more of a tribute to Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard than a comedy success.
Here’s what other critics had to say about the movie:
For those without built-in affection for the comedy goofballs from the 1930s-’50s, Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s (“There’s Something About Mary”) rejuvenation of the characters registers as both better than it looks and worse than it needed to be. – Matt Pais of Redeye.com
At their best, the original Three Stooges were demented geniuses, savants of slapstick, bringing a real sense of joy to smacking faces and pulling noses. Hey, don’t knock it. There is a place for that sort of thing. And the new film, “The Three Stooges,” couldn’t find it with a map and a compass. - Bill Goodykoontz of FloridaToday.com
“The Three Stooges” is rated PG.
Showtimes: Great Escape 14
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