Movie Review: The Three Stooges Movie (2012)

My review of the Three Stooges reboot can be summed up by a play on Curly's famous line, "Yuck, yuck, yuck!" I debated for months whether I would even watch the film. I honestly think it should never have been made. I have been a fan of the Stooges since childhood. My Dad introduced me when I was five. I introduced my own son to the original Stooges. The Three Stooges didn't need a reboot. The classic Stooges have stood the test of time, five US wars, and fifteen US Presidents. The new movie, just as I feared it would, cheapened the legacy of the original Stooges.

Will Sasso stood out for me as giving proper tribute to the original Curly. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sean Hayes as Larry. That is, until the movie started. Hayes' portrayal of Larry Fine was more like a stoner with clown hair. The original Larry was the heart of the Three Stooges. He was the connective balance of the act. When they needed someone to play violin, Larry was the guy. When they needed someone who could play ANYTHING on the piano, they turned to Larry. When they needed someone to fetch the tools from the truck, Larry was on it. Moe and Curly were both very strong characters, and Larry brought the needed balance to the act. No one else could have done it better. Curly was replaced four times. His character, while legendary, was not irreplacable. Joe DeRita and Joe Besser did okay. Shemp was brilliant, of course, but even he was replaceable. When they tried to replace Larry (following his death in 1975) with Emil Sitka, Moe died shortly thereafter.

The new movie started out okay. There was the expected slapstick, which made me laugh out loud. Larry David as a nun didn't hurt the film for me at all. Then it just got weird. Moe (played by Chris Diamontapoulos) ends up on a reality TV show, and the movie just died for me at that point. It was here that I regretted watching the film at all.

Let's face it, there are some legends of Hollywood that will never be duplicated or rebooted. The Three Stooges are at the top of that list for me. They are followed by Johnny Carson, KISS, Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Al Pacino's "Scarface (which I just heard is in talks about a possible reboot)." Hollywood, why don't you start pitching new ideas and creating new legends? You don't reboot Pacino; he reboots you. Leave it alone!

As for Moe, Larry, and Curly, the chemistry they created in 1925 has sustained itself for generations. The Farelly brothers took something legendary and cheapened it. This is a movie that I believe wanted to pay tribute to the legends, but if Hollywood had any honor at all, they would have left well enough alone. Maybe a big screen biopic would have been a better idea.

My allegiance is to the original trio, whose legend lives on and will live on. I look forward to watching "Disorder in the Court" with my grandchildren one day. If they ask me about the 2012 Stooges and why we don't watch the movie, I am prepared with my, "Sometimes grown ups make really bad mistakes..." speech.


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