This Blast From my Past Hit the Spot
And nearly broke my funny bone ...
But then again, growing up, I loved every episode of the the Three Stooges. Yes, the Howard brothers, plus Larry Fine helped make growing up in the 1950's/60's a fairly funny time. Considering the mayhem of the 1960's, the Stooges were abundantly adequate comedic relief.
I have to wonder, did the Farrelly Brothers, Bobby and Peter, who directed, and helped with the screenplay on this picture, have the same childhood memories as myself?
The brothers are nearly a half a decade younger than ole Wyatt, but must have had a similar long running rendezvous with the hilarity of the absurd, starring the Howard brothers: Moe, Curly, and later Shemp, combined with the dude with the Bozo head - Larry Fine. Why else would they lovingly produce a film of this nature that now really does not translate well to this overstimulated digital age, when funny is often so hard to define, or find for that matter.
The Farrelly Brothers, who have a fairly defined grasp of what is funny, as evidenced by a number of their films to date: Hall Pass - 2011, Stuck on You - 2003, There's Something About Mary - 1998, Shallow Hal - 2001, Kingpin - 1996, Dumb & Dumber, 1994, and this Three Stooges film was no exception. Whether one considers this quick, well-paced 92 minutes of pure fun an excellent rip-off of the Howard's comedic genius, or a homage to three of the funniest guys that ever lived the film hit its mark, irrespective of any written commentary to the contrary. It is a funny film, well worth your time ... that is ... if you don't take yourself too seriously, and can't too fun of a way to go about living. Right?
So, how does one seemlessly re-represent the Stooges, without making the film a pale imitation of the standard?
The recipe is quite simple. First, keep the script simple and honest - true to the original format and let the slapstick comedy rule the unceasing laughter. Second, cast the perfect actors - it matters not whether they are virtually unknown.
For the Farrelly brothers it was "done and done."
The brotherly directors cast three little known actors to play the Stooges, actors who are mostly known for their television roles, except Chris Diamantopoulos, who has also done mostly television, but is even less known than his co-stars.
Remarkably, television actor Diamantopoulos was incomparable as Moe, and caused much of the side-splitting humor that nearly doubled me over in uncontrollable laughter. Sean Hayes, best known as the gay neighbor in "Will and Grace," lost his lisp to play Larry Fine's role, and consistently had that same nasal tone as Larry, the perpetual Stooge foil. His role was near perfect in complexity. Will Sasso is the little known comedic actor, who I knew well from his days on MADTV during that show's golden years. Sasso is a naturally funny guy - really funny - and perfectly cast as Curly.
There had been some Hollywood discussion that A-list actors Sean Penn as Larry, Benicio Del Toro as Moe, Jim Carrey as Curly were rumored to do this ensemble job, but I believe fans would have been so intent in concentrating on these bona fide stars, they would have missed the perfect chemistry, achieved or no, to perfect the slapstick geniuous of the Stooge effect.
When former vaudeville entertainers Larry Fine, Moe Howard and Curly Howard came together in these comedy vignettes, beginning in 1934, they were relatively unknown. And while they were considered brilliantly funny by enough folks to propel their work in the aura of classic comedy, this comedy troupe; however, were never fairly financially compensated for their great life's work.
It was most appropriate that this re-creation of the "The Three Stooges" be mainly played by virtual unknown actors, whose perfect energy as the reconstituted Stooges be so seemless in its fundamental quality, and abject in its hilarity of purpose.
The Farrelly Brothers employed so many great comedic actors: Jane Lynch, Sofía Vergara, Craig Bierko, Kirby Heyborne, Brian Doyle-Murray, the aforementioned Larry David; all used as mere backdrops, just part of the scenery that is chewed up, in its entirety, by the maelstrom of the Stooges as they blow into each scene, and virtually blowup every dramatic premise, and, consequently, let everyone know that this is their show, and like their original predecessors, it was. These stooges owned the screen, and I will be forever thankful for that one essential truth.
Rated PG. Released on DVD July 17, 2012.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.