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The Three Stooges - Review

The Three Stooges

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

THE Farrelly brothers would seem perfectly suited to bringing a modern update of comedy legends The Three Stooges to the big screen given both their long-held affection for the trio and the fact that one of their own best films, Dumb & Dumber, lends itself well to that kind of slapstick humour.

Sadly, this new incarnation of The Three Stooges is a disappointing effort that struggles to work on any comedic level.

Once touted as a star vehicle for Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Jim Carrey, the film now sees Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso stepping into the shoes of, respectively, Moe, Larry and Curly as the three orphan brothers.

The ensuing film, split into three episodes, finds them attempting to save their beloved orphanage from closure by raising the required funds but, instead, stumbling into a murder plot.

As with the original shorts, the humour is reliant on slapstick and farce, especially in the knockabout way the brothers treat each other.

But where once this worked (way back in the 1930s) and the stupidity had an endearing quality, it now feels laboured, forced and over-cooked. The endless bickering, eye poking and face punching quickly becomes repetitive, as do the jokes involving the ‘accidents’ that befall anyone who gets in their path.

Gags involving chainsaws, sledgehammers and lion slapping require a post-script warning not to copy them at home, while others involving orphans and murder just aren’t funny. And the Farrellys’ attempts to fit the Stooges’ original style into a modern context simply doesn’t work.

A belated appearance by the cast of Jersey Shore, meanwhile, comes across as a different kind of product placement and an unwanted reminder of the ills of reality TV.

All this leaves the performers with little to work with and that’s a shame as Messrs Diamantopoulos, Hayes and Sasso work their socks off attempting to replicate the mannerisms, ticks and vocal styles of The Stooges and have a certain chemistry between them, as well as some neatly timed choreography.

While spirited support also comes from the likes of Glee’s Jane Lynch as a Mother Superior and Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara as a murderous femme fatale.

But overall the film struggles to work as a comedy in its own right or do justice to the memory of the comedians that inspired it. It’s often painfully laboured and unfunny and will struggle to hold the interest of even the most juvenile minds.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 88mins
UK Release Date: August 22, 2012