Video Review: Farrelly Brothers Make Worst Film of the Decade

No knuckleheads harmed, but two made this train wreck.

Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Fox Searchlight, 92 mins. PG (for Pretty God-awful)
No Stars

When you review things one is often approached by others to opine on the best this, or the worst that. I often dissemble in such situations. I recall the wisdom of the Dalai Lama. When asked what the best religion is he replied, “It’s like asking, ‘What is the best medicine?’ I say to you, that depends on what is wrong with you!”

Having just dissembled, I am now prepared to say three things. First, this is probably the only time you will ever hear the Dalai Lama invoked in any context involving the Farrelly brothers. Second, viewing this piece of detritus is my own damn fault. I usually avoid the Farrellys the way a teenager avoids a chastity sermon, but I was told that The Three Stooges was different and that I would be surprised. Third, I was surprised. I am prepared to say that the Farrelly brothers’ take on The Three Stooges wins an award. It is the single most inane, inept, and pathetic effort at movie-making of the decade. The only—and I mean only—thing that’s the slightest bit intriguing about this film is that the three principals—Chris Diamantopoulous, Will Saso, and Sean Hayes—look a lot like Moe, Curly, and Larry. As for the rest, what it lacks is everything. That starts with the script.

Bobby Farrell and Mike Cerrone gave the lads a biographical creation story–orphans tossed onto the steps of a Catholic orphanage. The pratfall and violence-prone trio are, of course, completely unadoptable and come of age (and beyond) under the tutelage of nuns, half of whom love the lads and half of whom consider alternative vocations every time they’re in their presence. For the record, the actual Three Stooges grew up in lower middle-class New York City Jewish families, not a Catholic orphanage. If this were the only thing wrong with the script, it would only be a small scrap, not the complete landfill that it is. I will concede that the material of the original act wasn’t exactly written by Talmudic scholars, but Farrell and Cerrone have plumbed new depths of stupidity in a story arc that involves, among things, a nun played an actor in drag (Larry David), an effort to save the orphanage, nuns in thongs, and close encounters of the worst kind with the cast of Jersey Shore. Stop, you guys are killing me!

The actors look the part, but they lack the timing of the original Stooges, the special effects are more ham-handed than those of the 1930s and 40s, and the saccharine sentimentality of the story robs the Stooges of one of the things that made them “funny” (for those who thought they were): their meanness. Let’s face it, true comedy is mean; there is always a butt of every joke and the Three Stooges often cast themselves as both punch lines and punching bags.  When the Stooges took on outsiders, it was generally those in positions of authority (like nuns, for instance). In most episodes, the boys (sort of) bonded, but each was a walking id—no filters, no grand plans, and “soitantly” no sentimentality.

Leave it to the Farrelly brothers to be even more base and stupid than Moe, Curly, and Larry. Compared to Bobby and Peter, the Three Stooges have the wisdom and intellectual heft of, well, the Dalai Lama.

1 comment:

Henderson said...

Very well written review! I agree with you on what the ‘PG’ rating stands for for The Three Stooges, but I think this movie stayed true to the annoying comedy of the originals. I’m not sure why I wanted to see this movie, or why I stopped my girlfriend from shutting it off halfway through, but I watched it in full just as I have in the past when I ran across an episode on TV. I thought we would spend the night watching good comedy through my Hopper’s Blockbuster @Home app with no worries of having to leave the house to do so. I’m so glad that I didn’t waste gas or the time to actually GO see this movie. I definitely shouldn’t have listened to one of the security guards who works at the same DISH call center as I do, who raved that The Three Stooges is great for all ages. I seriously need to admit to my self that I don’t like slapstick comedy, and I need to quit trying.