“Nyuk nyuk nyuk!” “Why I oughta!” “I was a victim of coicumstance!” Of course, these famous sayings belong to those classic cinematic clowns The Three Stooges. Who else? And for the first time in over sixty years on the silver screen these lines are being uttered again by new actors under the tutelage of Bobby & Peter Farrelly, the two most prominent stooges of modern movie comedy. And you can tell from the first few minutes of this movie that the Farrellys hold these cinematic legends in great regard and they reflect that respect well here, as do the actors portraying them.

Now saying ‘respect’ does not in this case necessarily mean Oscar worthy material. It is after all the Three Stooges. However, their respect is shown with the same gut busting, side splitting cartoon violence antics of the three bumbling buffoons we’ve come to love. Well, some of us. It seems the Stooges are a comedy team one utterly loves or hates. Well, let me tell you this- if you love them, you’ll love this movie, and if you don’t, you should probably just stay away.

The plot, as you might expect, is a relatively uncomplicated one. The boys must save their childhood orphanage from being shut down, and forge out into that cruel world to do so. They become patsies in a murder plot and Moe ends up in the cast of a reality show full of present day American idiots. The Farrelly Brothers are in their element with the Stooges, having directed films about underdog dunces such as “Dumb & Dumber,” “Kingpin,” and “There’s Something About Mary.” They produced a goofy, hilarious, and at times touchingly sweet movie in “The Three Stooges,” just like the old shorts. This reviewer appreciated the fact that the story was told in three different ‘chapters’ making it seem like the old films as well. It remained true to the spirit of the originals while adding that inimitable Farrelly Brothers flair. There were a couple of instances where the action seemed a little over the top (including using babies as squirt guns and a scene involving a lion’s junk), but then again if the Stooges could have gotten away with that kind of thing back in the day I’m sure they would have. And man, I just couldn’t help but laugh.

As for the actors playing the Stooges, I couldn’t have asked for better casting. In fact, Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe (best known for playing Robin Williams in a TV movie), Sean Hayes as Larry (Jack of “Will & Grace” fame), and Will Sasso as Curly (“MadTV”) are so spot on it makes me wonder if the original actors tied to this film- Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn, and Jim Carrey- could have done any better. I sincerely doubt it. These pros have the characters down pat- Moe’s sneering grimace, Larry’s vapid cluelessness, and Curly’s ever changing facial contortions, not to mention those funny voices. And their comic timing and physical presence are pitch perfect, delivering every boink, thud, and eye poke with perfect vaudevillian precision. These guys are of course much better looking than their original counterparts, but the magic of Hollywood makes the difference indistinguishable. And they definitely have the same chemistry of the originals and that’s saying a lot. The cast also features a surprisingly funny Sofia Vergara in a comic villain role, Jane Lynch in an equally surprising anchored straight performance as the orphanage’s Mother Superior, and Larry David in a hilarious gender bending turn as Sister Mary-Mengele.

This is not the first film with other actors playing the iconic figures. The 2001 TV-movie “The Three Stooges” was a serious look at the real men behind the scenes. You might wonder if putting these characters in a modern setting would make them seem dated, but you’d be wrong. Their lack of exposure to anything modern by growing up in a technology lacking orphanage was a clever plot device to keep them innocent and grounded. And when they venture into the modern world, it’s worth the ticket price alone to see Moe smacking around the entire cast of “Jersey Shore.” This is just a fun, fun, funny flick and I highly recommend it to any slapstick comedy fan, especially fans of the Farrellys and the Three Stooges. Now, as much as I like Curly, I must admit I have always been an equal fan of the ‘other’ Stooge- Shemp. Unfortunately there was no mention of him in this movie, but if I know the Farrellys, we can be expecting a sequel called “The FOUR Stooges”.

About the Author

Christopher is a life long film fanatic hailing from Waynesfield, Ohio. His favorite all time film is “Star Wars”. He attributes his love of movies to his passion for acting and he has been performing for 15 years in local community theatre groups such as Encore Theatre, Wapakoneta Theatre Guild, Van Wert Civic Theatre, and many others. He appeared alongside fellow adjudicator Jon Hodges in the short film “Love Leaves By The Foot” directed by Trent Cox. Christopher is a contributing movie reviewer for Pazz Magazine and has written three full length plays. He holds an Associate Bachelor degree in Marketing and is interested in medieval culture, collecting comic related action figures, and is a huge Marilyn Monroe fan.