The Farrelly Brothers, and co-writer Mike Cerrone, chose to divide the film up into three half hour segments. The first segment begins with the trio as babies tossed onto the doorstep of an orphanage. Of course they're never adopted and so the poor nuns, led by Mother Superior (Jane Lynch), are forced into putting up with the mischief and chaos caused by the boys as they mature into young adults. On a particularly hazardous day to be within 100 yards of Larry (Sean Hayes), Curly (Will Sasso), and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), the orphanage receives some devastating news: they must come up with $800,000 in 30 days or else the place will be sold and the children will be shipped off to foster homes.
Part two finds the boys out in the big city trying to figure out a way to come up with the money and save the orphanage. A bizarre twist finds them hired to kill the wealthy husband of a sexy lady named Lydia (Sofia Vergara in clothes that appear to have been spray-painted on). Of course, the guys have no clue she wants him her hubby dead so she can be with her lover - the man the guys mistakenly believe is her husband and so repeatedly try to kill.
Because it's a feel-good comedy, the guys kiss and make up in time to figure out one final scheme to try and save the orphanage. Will they succeed? Soitenly!
The Bottom Line:
Although bigger name actors (including Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, and Jim Carrey) were associated with The Three Stooges over the years as the Farrellys struggled to get the film into production, the actors they ultimately went with to play Larry, Curly, and Moe were pretty much perfect. Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso do good imitations of the original Moe, Curly, and Larry, with Diamantopoulos in particular delivering a terrific performance.
The fault with The Three Stooges doesn't lie with the cast. Even the supporting roles are filled by actors who seem to totally get and embrace the Farrellys' vision. Jane Lynch makes for a sweet and surprisingly under-stated Mother Superior, Jennifer Hudson gets to show off her beautiful voice while showing she can handle a little comedy, and Larry David is, well, Larry David. Where The Three Stooges stumbles is in not allowing Larry, Curly, and Moe to stumble enough. The slapstick silliness is what works the best and when the guys are just going at it, that's when the film connects. The kids loved it and the older audience familiar with the original actors seemed to get a kick out of it. And as an audience member not at all into The Three Stooges, those moments of physical comedy were what made the film tolerable.
Honestly, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being The Dark Knight Rises-level of anticipation, I was registering a 2 going into The Three Stooges. Fortunately, The Three Stooges is better than you'd expect, although I doubt it will wind up converting any Three Stooges non-enthusiasts.
The Three Stooges was directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly and is rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language.
Theatrical Release: April 13, 2012