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  Three Stooges, The Don't You Know They Speak Vaudevillian?
Year: 2012
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Stars: Sean P. Hayes, Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jane Lynch, Sofía Vergara, Jennifer Hudson, Craig Bierko, Stephen Collins, Larry David, Kirby Heyborne, Carly Craig, Kate Upton, Marianne Leone, Brian Doyle-Murray, Avalon Robbins, Max Charles, Lin Shaye
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Sisters of Mercy Orphanage is staffed by nuns, including the Mother Superior (Jane Lynch) who runs it and Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David) who keeps the kids in line. But for the next thirty-five years they have their work cut out for them as an arrival left on their doorstep was three babies who all the sisters wanted to take care of initially, but once the boys began to grow they proved something of a handful. Even when it looked as if they would be adopted, they managed to mess it up, but now, as they are adults still living there, they have a chance to save the day...

And those three men are The Three Stooges, except of course they were not, they were three character comedians impersonating the lineup of the classic Stooges shorts, Moe, Larry and Curly. That the Farrelly Brothers had the audacity to have imposters take on the mantle of one of the most beloved American comedy acts of all time either smacked of impertinence to the fans, or irrelevance to the younger film buffs who would not have the same connection to having grown up watching the originals on television. It was a risky proposition, and many, if not most, were of the opinion that they hadn't pulled it off.

But forget those naysayers, because not only was this a loving tribute undertaken with the best intentions, it was actually very funny, and the trio of actors taking the leads - Sean P. Hayes as Larry, Will Sasso as Curly and Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe - achieved at times supernaturally accurate renditions of the personas, with Moe being a standout amongst three terrific interpretations. That was not to say that the Farrellys had taken them and pickled the characters as if they were no longer of our time, which to be reasonable they weren't really, for they invented a plot point (that they had spent all their lives in an orphanage) which would give them the innocent abroad approach.

This meant the trio could stay true to the proper incarnations but had more modern references woven in, some of which those diehards found far too jarring, but on closer examination saw the Stooges calling the shots as no matter what situation they were in, they would twist it around to suit their brand of mayhem. This being the Farrellys, some of the gags were cruder than anything you would get in one of the shorts of the thirties and forties, but again it was as if the spirit of the originals was preserved intact as everyone around them was reduced, often against their will, to the idiotic level of humour. That the plot saw them trying to save the orphanage was childishly simple, yet again appropriate enough to hang the setpieces around.

The boys need to raise $83,000 to prevent the home of those kids being demolished or whatever, so set off to the big city in search of the cash. Naturally, they're so stupid their schemes are deeply unsuccessful, but the main thing was that they were funny to us in the audience, and the intricate slapstick routines, not just the slapping each other about with accompanying silly sound effects but more complex set ups took advantage of progress in special effects and makeup: look at the part where they are trying to fix the bell, and wind up knocking Larry David about to absurd lengths, seems simple but if you examine it you can see it had taken quite a bit of thought to get those laughs flowing. That the Stooges find themselves in a murder plot (not that anyone gets killed), is fitting as it harks back to the sort of storyline the actual Stooges would have been in had the classic incarnations ever made a feature; only the sentiment doesn't fit, but for every schmaltzy bit there is a goodly amount of hilarity. Better than it sounds. Music by John Debney.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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