Review: The Three Stooges

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Three Stooges

There's a lot you can say about Bobby and Peter Farrelly, aka the Farrelly brothers. Among all of the things you can say about them, one thing you certainly can't say is that their movies are lazy. Though their last few films have lacked in quality, they have been full on heart and and they've certainly stuck to the formula that gave them some early success. It's a shame that early success hasn't been more consistent as of late and their homage to some classic comedians, The Three Stooges fits more along their mold as of late than it does their earlier films.

It opens with a flashback, the way a lot of Farrelly brothers films do, at an orphanage run by nuns. There are children happily playing until Sister Mary-Mengele (played amazingly by Larry David) ruins their song-and-dance routine. What seems like a normal day is disrupted by a speeding car that drops off a bag with three bundles of joy by the names of Larry, Curly and Moe. At first everyone in the orphanage can't wait to hold the three adorable babies, but soon the tide turns and the three boys are the bane of the orphanage's existence. One day a couple comes and adopts Moe, but since he's not adopted with his two friends he chooses to stay.

Years later, when they're adults, they learn that the orphanage is in a massive debt and must be shut down unless $830,000 can be raised. The boys are determined to raise the money and off they go on an adventure to try to save the orphanage they've called home since they were babies.

At the point when The Three Stooges reveals its cliched plot of the trio saving their home, it's easy to dismiss the film. As bad as that is, it gets worse, believe it or not. The weak story brings in characters with peculiar motivations that are caricatures of the archetypes they represent. This is where the biggest problem with the film lies.

The three actors playing the Stooges (Will Sasso, Sean Hayes and Chris Diamantopoulos) are actually pretty fantastic. They play the part of the Stooges to perfection, especially Diamantopoulos as Moe. Those are the moments when you forget you're watching a Farrelly brothers film and you're halfway convinced you're watching an older Stooges film.

It's the times when The Three Stooges does what so many comedies feel the need to do nowadays that the film loses its momentum. When Sofia Vergara and the Jersey Shore cast gets placated because they're famous celebrities -- this film's attempt at bringing in a bigger audience -- the film gets cheap.

Overall, The Three Stooges was slightly better than expected, but not by much. Fans of the type of humor that the original Stooges brought to the screen will be pleased by the actors brought in to play the legendary troupe. Those who aren't particularly moved by that humor will be lost as viewers during this movie, especially if they also happen to hate  Vergara or Jersey Shore.