By Linc Leifeste | April 12, 2012
Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Writers: Mike Cerrone, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Starring: Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson, Craig Bierko, Stephen Collins, Larry David, Kirby Heyborne, Kate Upton, Snooki, Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino, Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Sammi ‘Sweetheart’ Giancola
One film, two critics, The Three Stooges reviewed via G-Chat by Caitlyn Collins and Linc Leifeste:
Linc: So I’ll get a few things out of the way right up front. I’m a big fan of the original Three Stooges. Despite the fact that they were way before my time, I grew up watching and loving them and although I became well aware that their humor was juvenile and lowbrow (and not appreciated by the majority of people I know) my love for them never waned over the years. When I initially heard about the new film project, years ago, I was intrigued by the names that I heard…I think they included Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro…but as the project progressed and the names involved changed my interest dropped. And by the time I started seeing actual clips and then trailers and TV spots, I was convinced that the new Three Stooges movie was going to be a warm steamy pile of poo. But despite that, I was still able to maintain a certain level of excitement about the film because I twisted your arm into agreeing to see it with me. And I knew you’d rather be doing just about anything than watching The Three Stooges. Probably the best part about the month or so leading up to the release was sharing the film’s new Facebook posts of images on your wall and imagining your face twisting into a grimace and your head shaking with each new post. Maybe that says a lot about why I’m a fan of the Stooges’ brand of comedy! Did you enjoy the buildup to actually seeing the film as much as I did?
Caitlyn: Absolutely not. I can’t believe we are still friends because of it to be perfectly honest. Also, I have a bone to pick with you. Do you remember how you casually revealed to me, after I’d somehow already agreed to join you, that Snooki would be in this film?
Linc: To be honest, not really. But I DID forward that g-chat to the rest of the SLSS crew because it had me laughing so hard. So I think there’s a permanent record of that moment that can be shared. I will say that I had a carefully crafted strategy about this whole project and one of my guiding principles was “You never reveal your Snooki too early in the game.”
——————————-Flashback G-Chat moment—————————————
Linc: We can leave work at 4:00 and get to the screening on time. Burning one hour of your leave balance is a small price to pay to see what’s her name (Kate Upton) in a bikini on the big screen, no?
Caitlyn: OH MY GOD. Is that why you want to see this movie??
Linc: Ha ha. Of course not. Snookie is the main motivation. Is that how you spell her name?
Caitlyn: SNOOKI IS IN THIS?!?!?!?!!?! Jesus H.
Caitlyn: Right. That’s the conversation. I would just like to say that you owe me 1,000 beers because not only was Snooki in this film but THE ENTIRE CAST OF JERSEY SHORE. As your friend, why would you do that to me?
Linc: That’s a good question and I’m not sure I have a good answer. But I WILL say that other than by name or maybe seeing their images on tabloid covers while checking out in the grocery story, this was my first real exposure to the Jersey Shore crew and I was happy it involved them being mocked, slapped and poked in the eyes by Moe.
Caitlyn: I actually have to agree with you on that. I’ve never seen the show, but I’m happy the cast members were slapped around a bit. That was almost funny.
Linc: ALMOST funny? What does it take to get a laugh out of you? Oh wait, I remember! It’s a rat being dropped between Sofia Vergara’s breasts!
Caitlyn: That chuckle was not about a rat being in between breasts. It was due to the fact that the joke had been made 10 times already, but somehow was made yet again. I was laughing at everyone else laughing at the joke – again. It was more about disbelief and absurdity. You on the other hand laughed throughout the entire film.
Linc: As shocked as I am to say it, you’re right! And probably only about 10% of my laughter was spurred by looking over at you grimacing as slaps were delivered and “Nyuk! Nyuk!”‘s flew. Which means 90% of my laughter was actually elicited from what was happening onscreen. I hadn’t really done my research going in but I’d heard that Jane Lynch was involved but I had no idea that Larry David would be in the movie, playing a nun even! As soon as I saw him in his/her habit, I knew I had misjudged the film! Clearly, this was a movie that was going to exceed my expectations. And then when Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues was included in the soundtrack, I knew my love affair with the Stooges was nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve always heard Dylan’s fairly protective of where he allows his music to be used and sure enough, I later read that when the Farrellys contacted Dylan’s people to get permission to use the song they found out that Dylan’s a fan of the Stooges.
Caitlyn: Larry David and Jane Lynch as nuns were pretty funny. I mean, Larry David as a nun reminded me of a scary lunch-lady for some reason. Since this film was genuinely funny to you, does that mean it compares well to the original Three Stooges skits?
Linc: Actually, I thought the Farrelly’s and the three leads did a pretty amazing job of capturing the spirit of the original Stooges. When it became apparent to me that they were going to faithfully portray the original Stooges I had trouble imagining that it would work in a modern setting but I think it did. I guess that goes to show that juvenile slapstick and insults works just as well in color as they do in black & white. I think reaction to this movie will probably fall pretty strongly along the lines of feelings about the original Stooges. If you like the Three Stooges, I think odds are good you’ll like this movie. If you don’t like the Three Stooges, I can’t imagine you liking this movie. And judging from the response in our screening, kids will probably like it. What I’m not sure about is how adults that have really never watched the Three Stooges (and I’m assuming that’s a good chunk of the under-40 demographic) will respond. Since you fit that demographic, what was it like to sit and see these idiots slapping each other, pulling out nose hairs and underarm hair, etc? If it wasn’t funny, was it surreal? Bizarre?
Caitlyn: I think it might have been funnier if it hadn’t lasted so long. I’m not generally a fan of slapstick, physical humor. And I admit I haven’t seen any of the original Three Stooges so I didn’t walk into the theater with any sense of nostalgia. What I want to know is why on earth were so many nose hairs pulled?!
Linc: Ha ha. That’s a good question. Frankly, I was surprised that the movie didn’t include a pie fight as that’s one of the first bits I think of when I think of the Three Stooges. I don’t remember nose hair pulling being a recurring stunt in the Three Stooges (unlike pulling out chunks of Larry’s (Sean Hayes) hair, which is also featured in the movie) but it’s not a bad trick. I do think part of the appeal of the original Three Stooges was that they produced mostly shorts and that style of comedy works best in ten minute doses versus ninety minute doses. That said, I never really get bored with the movie although there were bits that didn’t work as well for me as others. Probably the low point for me was the scene in the hospital where the Stooges are in disguise as medical staff and get stuck in the nursery on diaper duty and the babies start peeing in their faces. That scene felt like it lasted way too long. So there, the fan of the film has just talked about his least favorite bit. Now I think it’s time for the hater of the film to tell everyone their favorite part of the film! And no, you’re not allowed to say “The end credits.”
Caitlyn: The end credits. The hospital scene was just way too over the top, I agree. And it just wasn’t funny. Newborns essentially being used as pee guns was ludicrous. I think seeing Larry David heavily made up and in a nun’s habit was pretty funny. It was certainly unexpected. No, on second thought, Snooki reading a book was probably the funniest scene.
Linc: Let me rephrase my question: What was your favorite Three Stooges bit? Did any of their antics make you laugh? As you know, they had me laughing a lot but the scene that I probably enjoyed the most also happened in the hospital, when they went in to finish off their murder for hire and they poor guy was in the full body cast, his doing the turtle routine and disappearing into his cast, the Stooges dropping a stick of dynamite in only to have him toss it back out and them have to drop it back in before it blows and smoke pours out of all the cast holes…hilarious to me. And very cartoonish. I think that’s one of the elements I love about the Stooges is their cartoonish element. Much like classic Looney Tunes cartoons, these characters are doing incredibly violent things to each other with no real harmful consequences. And in case you didn’t know, that’s every boy’s dream. To be able to smack someone in the head with a sledgehammer and not get in trouble…or cause permanent damage.
Caitlyn: The turtle bit was definitely classic cartoon as was the dynamite. When Curly (Will Sasso) opened up his jacket after Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) asks if anyone has dynamite was pretty classic. I mean, who carries around sticks of dynamite?! I think there are a few girls who wouldn’t mind smacking people with sledgehammer and not getting into trouble. Myself included. I think I’d smack you first for somehow getting me to agree to see this film. As long as as there wasn’t any permanent damage, exactly.
Linc: Ha ha. So maybe I’ll be getting hammered in more ways than one when I’m buying you the 1,000 drinks I owe you? The other thing I’ve always loved about the Stooges is the absurdist element. It’s always been incredibly appealing to me to see these three guys operating in the “real world” under their own rules, almost oblivious to all societal constraints and expectations. The same thing that annoys so many people about the Stooges…men behaving so childishly…is probably what I love most about them. Just the idea that these guys made a living for so long behaving so ridiculously makes me incredibly happy. And jealous. Beyond that, Curly in particular always struck me as amazingly absurd and bizarre, from his faces and mannerisms to his falling down on his side and spinning in circles or barking like a dog. I’m curious how you responded to the Stooges themselves. Did you have any liking or sympathy for them or did you just find them annoying? Did any of the three stand out to you in any way?
Caitlyn: Mostly I just found them irritating, especially Curly, precisely for his spinning around and barking like a dog. I also found it really irritating how they all yipped when something “bad” was happening. They all cringed and made the same noise in unison. If I had to choose a favorite I think it would be Larry because he seems slightly more tolerable than Curly and Moe. Even though they are so ridiculous, I felt a little sorry for them. Particularly in the scenes where they kept hoping to be adopted as adults.
Linc: So they did work their way into your heart a little bit!
Caitlyn: Well, I felt bad! They still wanted a family despite being dysfunctional grown men in matching plaid shorts, suspenders and plaid bow ties.
Linc: Ha ha. Where I see men managing to operate outside the system and never grow up you see dysfunction! I think the Three Stooges have always appealed to a male audience more than a female audience, and I’ve always assumed that’s partially due to the violent aspect of their physical comedy but mostly because they manage to never grow up or be responsible. I’m sure it comes as a shock to you (and most women) that some men dream of perpetually being little boys.
Caitlyn: What?!?! I had no idea. But you mean that in the sense of shirking responsibility, right? Not in the sense of name calling and hair pulling?
Linc: Well, not needing to hold down a job or have parental or marital obligations holds a certain dreamlike magic at times but being able to poke people in the eyes anytime you feel like it is probably just as appealing.
Caitlyn: Uh, I think most of that applies to women as well. Minus the whole poking people in the eyes thing. I don’t even like the glaucoma test at the eye doctor. I have zero desire to be poked or poke someone else in the eyes. But not holding down a job? No marital or parental obligations. Sign me up! Although, I would still want money to travel and drink wine and stuff.
Linc: What a great idea! You’re absolutely right. Behind every Six Million Dollar Man there’s always a Bionic Woman! They should make a Three Stoogettes film! Which makes me think…you know that if this movie makes decent bank it will be no time before there’s a sequel! I hope I can rely on you to accompany me to the next one?
Caitlyn: Come on. A sequel? Really?
Linc: I think the odds of another Three Stooges film is every bit as likely as Smells Like Screen Spirit ever letting us do this again.
Caitlyn: A review like this?
Caitlyn: I think the review could happen, but hopefully not the Stooges sequel.
Linc: Well, if not a sequel, I still think your Three Stooges education shouldn’t start and end with this movie. I propose that the first step in my compensating you for having to watch this film should involve me screening a few of my favorites of the classic Three Stooges shorts for you over the adult beverage of your choice, provided by me.
Caitlyn: Linc, it’s the least you could do.
Rating: 7/10 (Linc), 1/10 (Caitlyn)