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The Three Stooges(2012)
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.
For more about The Three Stooges and the The Three Stooges Blu-ray release, see the The Three Stooges Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on July 20, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Kate Upton, Jane Lynch, Sofía Vergara
Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
» See full cast & crew
The Three Stooges Blu-ray Review
The Noive of the Farrellys
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, July 20, 2012
So...this happened. And, of course, it really didn't need to. I get that the Farrelly brothers—the filmmaking knuckleheads behind Dumb and Dumber and Something About Mary—wanted to honor their longtime showbiz idols, but a reboot of The Three Stooges? In 2012? I don't think the masses were exactly clamoring for that. Neither were devoted fans of the original Moe, Larry, and Curly—and Shemp and Joe Besser— not anxious to see the Stooges' memory sullied by an unnecessary and possibly awful homage. Though it's no high praise, I'll give the Farrellys this: their nyuk-nyuk new Stooge comedy isn't as awful as it could've been, and there are at least two or three decent laughs to be had. That said, the movie is completely unnecessary—there's no disputing that—and the Farrellys' attempt to update the Stooge formula is not without its cringe- worthy concessions to the worst aspects of modern pop culture. And by worst aspects of modern pop culture, yes, I'm referring to the preternaturally orange and idiotic cast members of The Jersey Shore, who share an extended cameo here that's basically a pandering, bald- faced ploy to get young people—who, let's face it, might not even know who The Three Stooges are—to see the film. Larry, Moe, and Snooki? No thank you.
As in the string of shorts that the Stooges made in the 1930s and '40s, the plot of this new film is mostly meaningless, an excuse to string together one slapstick set-piece after another. The Farrellys open with an origin story of sorts, with the three nitwits as babies—already sporting their iconic haircuts—getting tossed in a duffel bag onto the front stoop of a Catholic orphanage, run by Glee's Jane Lynch as the wary Mother Superior. You might recognize some of the other nuns too; Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David dons the penguin suit in drag, Dreamgirls' Jennifer Hudson plays the requisite sassy, gospel-singing sister, and Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition cover model Kate Upton appears in a revealing poolside habit that's definitely not church-sanctioned.
After a much-too-long sequence involving much-too-obnoxious child actors, we jump twenty-five years to the present and meet the grown-up Stooges —ringleader Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), pun-busting Larry (Will & Grace's Sean Hayes), and porky imbecile Curly (MADtv's Will Sasso)—who still live at the orphanage, earning their keep as not-so-handy handymen. (One of the early large-scale gags involves a chainsaw, a sledgehammer, a broken ladder, and an errant church bell.) When Monsignor Ratliffe (Brian Doyle-Murray) shows up to inform everyone that the orphanage will be closing—recession woes, naturally—the innocent stooges set off into the wide world, determined to raise the $830,000 needed to save the place.
Yes, that old chestnut. And, as you'd expect, it all goes topsy-turvy wrong within minutes. The stooges inadvertently fall into the employ of a well- endowed wealthy woman, Lydia—Modern Family's Sophia Vergara—who's conspiring with her illicit lover, Mac (Craig Bierko), to kill her nebbish husband, Teddy (Kirby Heyborne), who just so happens to be one of the stooges' old orphanage playmates. What are the odds, right?
Like I said, none of this matters; it's all in the service of the non-stop sight gags and gross-outs. A maternity ward visit turns into a Mexican standoff with pissing infants for pistols. ("Careful, nyuk-nyuk, this one's got a hair trigger!") A day at the zoo results in a dolphin getting the Heimlich manuever after Larry flips a peanut into its blowhole. Flopping fish, drying out in the hundreds, cover the fairway of a golf course when the stooges conspire to sell "farm-raised salmon." Of course, heads are bonked, eyes gouged, chins bopped, and nostrils pulled in classic fashion. In an ode to Will Sasso's well- documented love of professional wrestling, the stooges even tag-team the Monsignor—Larry doing a leg sweep, Moe delivering a flying elbow drop, and Curly belly-smacking down for the pin. Catholics have called out the film for being derogatory to the faith, but as I see it, The Three Stooges is less offensive than it is plain old unfunny. You might laugh a few times, but the fact is, this kind of woop-woop-woop humor just doesn't fly as well today as it did seventy-odd years ago.
Hence, the film's terminally ill-placed efforts to update the material for the times. I mean, the Jersey Shore's muscular Oompa-Loompas are stooges of a sort, but they have no business here, in a subplot that has Moe joining the cast after a falling out with his compatriots. And then there are the social media-based puns, like when Teddy says, "I'll tweet you," to which Curly replies, "Tweet us to dinner? Why soitenly!" If you've seen the film's trailer, you already know that Curly likewise has no idea how to operate an iPhone. I think the film might've worked better if the Farrellys had made it retrofied, set in the '40s and shot in black and white. But perhaps that would've been a bit too classy for the guys who made Shallow Hal.
The only thing genuinely commendable about The Three Stooges is the casting. For years—while the film was stuck in development hell— numerous big names were attached to the project, from Benecio del Toro and Jim Carrey to Johnny Knoxville and Sean Penn. I gotta say, though— Chris Diamantopoulos makes a mean Moe, Sean Hayes has Larry's reactions down pat, and Will Sasso, beyond bearing a striking resemblance to Curly, does the Brooklyn-meets-baby voice perfectly. You couldn't ask for better Three Stooges replacements, but it always comes down to the same question: do we really need new stooges in the first place?
The Three Stooges Blu-ray, Video Quality
You know what I would've loved to have seen? If the Farrellys had borrowed the vibe of The Artist and made The Three Stooges period- faithful in punchy black and white. Alas, the film is shot like many modern comedies, with flat, too-bright cinematography and a surplus of kindergarten- style primary colors. Rant over. Anyway, for what it is, 20th Century Fox's 1080p/AVC-encoded 35mm transfer is quite nice, almost certainly faithful to source and intent. The film's grain structure is non-obtrusive and entirely intact—no digital noise reduction here—and I didn't spot any overt edge enhancement, filtering, or compression issues. On the whole, the image is a little soft, especially in longer shots, but close-up reveal plenty of high definition detail in the actors' faces and clothing. Color, as previously mentioned, is poppy and loud, occasionally crossing the line into what some may consider oversaturated. (See: the golf course greens.) Skin tones are stable though, and never ruddy, and contrast is consistent, with deep-enough blacks and highlights that never peak. I wouldn't nominate The Three Stooges for Blu-ray presentation of the year, but Fox's transfer certainly gets the job done well.
The Three Stooges Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Ditto for the film's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, a mix that's functional and sometimes—during a few of the more frantic woop- woop-woop sequences—even modestly engaging. The rear channels probably don't get as much play as they could've, but you will hear some quiet ambience at the orphanage and zoo, cars moving between speakers, and occasional directional effects. The most notable element of the mix is the fact that the Farrellys' sound designers have opted to clean up and use the iconic sound effects from the original Columbia-era Three Stooges shorts —all of the thuds and bonks and knocks and honks you hear during the frequent slapping/poking/thwacking matches. It definitely helps sell a lot of the slapstick action. Of course, the classic Stooges theme song shows up, and there's also a complementary score by John Debney, along with a few out-of-place pop/rock songs. The music is never particularly aggressive, but it has all the heft and clarity that it needs to have. Dialogue throughout is always clean and easy to understand, and for those that need or want them, the disc includes optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles, plus Spanish and French dubs in Dolby Digital 5.1.
The Three Stooges Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Three Stooges Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Farrelly brothers' reboot is certainly not for diehard Three Stooges fans—who might've possibly been appeased only with a well-done biopic— but I suppose families looking for some goofy slapstick entertainment might find it reasonably passable. Personally, I only laughed twice—real, LOL-style laughs—and found most of the film to be tedious and pointless, especially when considering that real Stooges action is readily available on DVD. (Hint, distributors: There's definitely a market for the original shorts on Blu-ray.) The film looks good in high definition and comes with a decent selection of special features, but I can't recommend anything beyond a rental. I suspect this is a movie few will want to watch more than once.
The Three Stooges: Other Editions
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The Three Stooges Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Three Stooges (2012) Blu-ray - June 1, 2012
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring The Three Stooges to Blu-ray this July. Directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly's reimagining of the classic slapstick trio stars Chris Diamantopoulos (Wedding Daze), Sean Hayes (The Bucket List), and Will Sasso (National ...
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