Monday, January 21, 2013

WHAT EXACTLY WAS THE NEW THREE STOOGES MOVIE ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?

I STUMBLED UPON THE 2012 MOVIE "THE THREE STOOGES" WHILE I WAS ABSENTLY FLIPPING THROUGH CHANNELS.

 
I suppose that's the best way to experience the movie since I can't imagine a scenario in which I'd seek it out deliberately.  I remember a couple years ago, when I first heard they were thinking of doing a Three Stooges movie, thinking "What for?" and now, after having seen the film, I still cannot answer that question.  I seem to recall in the last ten years there was another Three Stooges movie that had "The Commish" in it but I believe that was more an biographical picture (I didn't bother to see it); this 2012 movie is not like that.  It is a comedy by the Farrelly Brothers (who have done some movies called "DUMB AND DUMBER", "THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY" and "ME, MYSELF & IRENE") which is a feature-length Three Stooges short done in the style of the originals but taking place in the present day.  Remember "THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE"?  Kinda like that.  While not really a fan of "THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE", I will say that one thing that really worked about it for me was portraying the bizarre, almost alien-like time-trapped Bradys transposed into the modern (1990s) world as an anachronism.  That does not happen with THE THREE STOOGES.  Moe, Larry and Curly are not characters from the Depression suddenly dropped into the present day; they are modern characters. . . well, all this isn't really important. 

The thing that puzzled me about the film and kept me in a constant see-sawing between my constantly about to change the channel and finding my bewildered interest keeping me glued there watching it was my attempt to figure out what I was watching.  Because it is not, when all is said and done, a terrible film.  There are some funny moments.  And the impressions of the Stooges are more or less quite impressive; "WILL AND GRACE"'s Sean Hayes as Larry and "MAD TV"'s Will Sasso as Curly are not bad while Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe is downright spooky in his vocal imitation (less so physically but he can't really help that).  The cast really gives it 100% and they really buy into the concept.  But what is the concept exactly?  The film reminded me a little of "BRAIN DONORS"; a film which I have a deep affection for.  BRAIN DONORS was something of an homage to the Marx Brothers updated to modern day (1990s).  But here, I think, is the sticking point for me.  BRAIN DONORS was not a modern Marx Brothers movie in sense that John Turturro plays a character which is very like Groucho Marx but does not look like Groucho or imitate his voice.  Mel Smith plays the equivalent of the Chico Marx character but speaks in his own English accent while Bob Nelson plays a mute character equivalent to Harpo Marx but dresses nothing like Harpo's character.  However, BRAIN DONORS is clearly meant as an homage to the Marx Brothers and as something like a Marx Brothers movie from the 1990s viewed through a prism.  Whereas THE THREE STOOGES movie features characters named Moe, Larry and Curly who look, act and speak as much as possible like Moe Howard, Curly Howard and Larry Fine.  And this is perhaps what is confusing me.  Because they are NOT Moe Howard, Curly Howard or Larry Fine so why are they playing them?  I think the film would've been more enjoyable for me if the actors played three entirely new characters a la BRAIN DONORS and kept the script and slapstick jokes unchanged.  As I said, there is some funny stuff in the film; not enough to make it a comedy classic but there were several instances when I actually laughed out loud.  Of course, if the actors played new characters then the name of the film wouldn't be "THE THREE STOOGES" and the built-in box office draw would've been reduced considerably.  And that, perhaps, is more to the point:  Hollywood's seeming incapability of coming up with one original idea and it's continued mining of old movies to "remake" and old TV shows to "movie-fy".  And while THE THREE STOOGES isn't as dismal as most of Hollywood's TV-to-Movie efforts ("SGT. BILKO" anyone?), it does illustrate for the umpteenth time Hollywood's complete dearth of imagination.  And it does leave me still with the feeling after an hour and a half of viewing the movie -- "What exactly was the point?"  But of course we all know the real answer to that question is the dollar.  So that's perhaps where I should leave it.   

3 comments:

James wellyousaythat said...

Bronson Pinchot and Gailard Sartain in The All New Adventures of Laurel & Hardy anyone?

Paul J. Marasa said...

I just had a similar experience--landed on the movie accidentally, twice. For the first, I saw the opening and was attracted to the surreal pleasure of Larry David as a nun(!)--but I had something else to do and left it. The second viewing found me lingering for ten minutes or so, but I'm happy to say I resisted the urge to stick it out.

But you're right on all points: It has a kind of fascination, as though Xerox had figured out a way to copy moving images, and the performances are great as impressions of the originals. But again, WHY? The original shorts are fine as is. And though like you I found some humor, the real benefit of the film is that it makes me want to see the originals. Netflix, take me to Stoogeland!

Cerpts said...

Thankfully, guys, I have all the originals on DVD and can watch them to my heart's content. Both of your comments are spot on, though. Thanks for visiting the ole blog! :)