• Three Stooges, The



    Released by: Fox

    Released on: July 17, 2012.

    Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

    Cast: Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch, Sofía Vergara

    Year: 2012

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:


    Did the world need a revamp of The Three Stooges? No. It didn’t. But that didn’t stop Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly from bringing them back anyway and the results are… mediocre at best. It certainly could have been a lot worse, but it could have also been quite a bit better.


    The story takes place in an orphanage thirty five years ago where three babies are dropped off and left in the care of a group of nuns lead by a Mother Superior (Jane Lynch). As the kids get older it becomes obvious that although their hearts are in the right place, they’re not very bright and they’re prone to hurting one another and everyone else around them. Twenty-five years later and the orphanage has hit some hard times and is in dire need of money. The three boys, now all grown up – Curly (Sean Hayes), Larry (Will Sasso) and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) – head out into the world on their own to find enough work that will allow them to save the orphanage.


    They soon meet up with a woman (Sofia Vergara) who hires them to kill her husband. She introduces them to the poor sap and they explain that he has a terminal illness and wants to die on his own terms. The Stooges agree to the job not realizing that this woman isn’t married to this man and that she is in fact married to one of the orphans they were friends with in their younger days. From here, they find themselves in a race against time to try to set things right and to save the orphanage, all while Moe winds up on… The Jersey Shore? Yeah, they lost me too at that point.


    First things first - Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Moe Chris Diamantopoulos do an excellent job bringing Curly, Larry and Moe back to life. The not only nail the looks but also the mannerisms, the speech patterns and yes, the violent slapstick tendencies that made the original trio such a classic. You really couldn’t ask for three better actors than these to recreate what Curly Howard, Larry Fine and Moe Howard originally created. Most of the praise for the movie has to stop there, however. While the non-stop barrage of physical injuries and bickering is definitely very much in keeping with the spirit of the original Three Stooges material, attempts to update the film fall and fall hard. We can look past the injection of some toilet humor (at one point the three use babies who are peeing everywhere to battle one another in a hospital) but we can’t look past the obvious catering to the Jersey Shore crowd, nor should we have to.


    The injection of Snooki and company into the movie pulls us right out of the vintage Stooges world that the film actually manages to do a good job of creating in the first half of the movie. It’s so out of place that it feels like nothing more than a publicity stunt cooked up by a studio interested less in preserving what made the originals so much fun and instead catering to a younger more modern audience who might not be interested in a new take on some old black and white shorts. This is understandable from a marketing perspective but the end result feels like a cheap cop out that could have been avoided with a more interesting script.


    The Stooges are funny enough on their own that they don’t need the Jersey Shore lunkheads to succeed. The fact that the three principals (and most of the supporting cast) are as good here and deliver performances as seamless as they are makes the weakness’ of the storyline and the novelty casting sting all the more.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    The Three Stooges hits Blu-ray in a nice looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition widescreen transfer from Fox in its original aspect ratio of 1.85.1. All in all, the movie looks great here. Detail is strong throughout and color reproduction is excellent. A bit of minor edge enhancement is there if you want to waste your time looking for it but there are no obvious defects here. This may not offer up the same sort of amazing detail the way some other modern movies do simply because the backgrounds and colors schemes aren’t all that interesting but you can’t really complain about the picture quality here, all in all, the movie looks very good in high definition.

    The film gets a pretty good DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix, and the track is both busy and aggressive when it needs to be (like during the many slapstick scenes), but offers clear dialogue and properly balanced levels throughout. There are no problems with the levels, the score sounds good, the performers are always easy to understand and there’s not even a trace of any hiss or distortion. There’s nothing to complain about here, the movie sounds very good.



    The extras start off with nine minutes of Deleted/Extended Scenes, though there’s a lot more extended scenes than deleted ones. Most of what we see here is just slightly longer cuts of scenes that made it into the finished film. More interesting is a ten minute featurette entitled What's the Big Idea? A History of The Three Stooges where the Farrelly Brothers discuss their motivation for bringing The Three Stooges back to the big screen and offer up some basic history of the original Stooges. The five minute Knuckleheads: Behind the Scenes of The Three Stooges is a quick featurette that includes interviews with the Farrelly Brothers discussing the making of the movie and some basic on set production footage while the four minute Did You Hear That? The Three Stooges Sound Effects is, as the title implies, a quick mini-documentary about the different sound effects that are used in the feature and how the team involved in that aspect of the production did their best to replicate the sounds that were such a big part of the original Stooges’ charm. Poifect! Casting The Three Stooges is a nine minute segment that discusses how and why the three actors who landed the lead roles were cast the way they were, with some interviews with the actors thrown in for good measure while the three minute The Three Stooges Mash-Up is simply a collection of violent comedy clips from the movie. Rounding out the extras are four minutes of Original Screen Tests and the film’s original theatrical trailer. All of the extras are presented in high definition and menus and chapter stops are included for the features. As this is a combo pack release, a regular DVD is included inside the keepcase as is a digital copy of the movie.


    The Final Word:


    Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos and Will Sasso all do a very respectable job of trying to recreate what the Three Stooges were all about but are inevitably hampered by a bad script and some completely unnecessary ‘celebrity cameo’ nonsense in the latter half of the movie. There are a few laughs to be had here but this revamp in no way improves upon or even matches the quality of the originals – but Fox, to their credit, have done a fine job on the Blu-ray release.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Watched a couple of minutes of it.....that was enough for me.
    1. Marshall Crist's Avatar
      Marshall Crist -
      Couldn't find another thread on the Stooges--maybe I should start one?

      My real question is: how much is enough Stooges? I'm rebuilding my collection from scratch, and have purchased a number of items. First and foremost is "The Ultimate Collection," which has all of the official Columbia shorts plus two features and some solo shorts. Really that ought to be enough for anyone. But I also ordered:

      SOUP TO NUTS, their first feature before Shemp bugged out for a solo career.

      "Classic Shorts From the Dream Factory," some god-awful two-strip Technicolor shorts with Ted Healy.

      GOLD RAIDERS/MEET THE BARON--really just wanted to see MEET THE BARON.

      A Blu-ray triple feature with TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM and (unfortunately) the two movies that are in the "Ultimate Collection."

      I feel like that might be enough for me. Mildly tempted by the Shemp Vitagraph shorts. Even more mildly tempted by the later movies with "Curly Joe," but I remember them being absolute ass. Anyone want to put in a kind word for something I might have overlooked, or just talk about Stooges in general?

      Edit: OK, I can see in retrospect that this was a horrible mistake. I will compound the obscenity by starting a new thread elsewhere.