MOVIE REVIEWS: THE THREE STOOGES
It’s likely that moviegoers’ reaction to The Three Stooges will depend a lot on how they regarded the original shorts that the Stooges turned out with assembly-line rapidity more than a half century ago, because, as Rafer Guzmán puts it in Newsday, The Three Stooges “is a virtual clone job.” Guzmán praises “the inspired impersonations of the lead trio” and regards the movie as “one of the Farrellys’ better films and a movie in which excess — the hallmark of everyone involved — is decidedly a virtue.” Indeed, writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times, “It’s a perfect fit for the Farrellys, who have made a career out of idiocy.” Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News observes that making a movie set in today’s world with actors who are the spitting image of the original Stooges is “a concept that shouldn’t work at all. But — who’da thunk it? — it’s better than a hammer to the head.” And Claudia Puig in USA Today pronounces the end result, “a movie with some big laughs, plenty of heart and terrible coifs.” Then there are those critics who probably never enjoyed the earlier shorts. “I didn’t laugh much,” grumbles Roger Ebert. “I don’t think the Stooges are funny, although perhaps I might once have. Some of the sight gags were clever, but meh.” The original Stooges never appeared in a feature-length film (although two of them, with a new partner, did in later years), and Stephen Cole in the Toronto Globe and Mail remarks, “The Stooges were probably meant to be seen on television, Saturday morning, while consuming fast food and colored juices.” It’s all sloppily sentimental and utterly pointless,” comments Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. And Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune is the only critic who comes right out with the admission: “To really dig the Farrellys’ tribute to the Stooges, you have to be more of a fan of the old stuff than I am.”
NOTE: Our original post failed to mention that two of the original Stooges appeared in features in later years.