Saturday, May 26, 2018


April 13, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

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.

  • Bufo Calvin

    Just to clarify, the Stooges did appear in features. They starred in:

    * Have Rocket, Will Travel
    * Snow White and the Three Stooges
    * The Three Stooges Meet Hercules
    * The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze
    * The Outlaws is Coming

    Arguably, those weren’t the original Stooges…Curly had a stroke before the first of these. They also appeared in other features, although not as the stars…they were in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World, for example. It’s possible I haven’t listed all of their features.

    I believe Leonard Maltin may have summed it up the best. I remember Maltin saying, “The world is divided into two kinds of people. Those who like The Three Stooges, and those who wonder why.”

  • Lew Irwin

    Thanks for the clarification, Bufo. I presume that the articles indicating that the Stooges only appeared in short films referred to the characters who are depicted in the new movie.

  • Johnnybeyond

    Just reiterating that the Stooges…2 out the the 3 best known ones, anyway… made at least 4 feature films going into the mid sixties: I vividly remember actually seeing THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES in an actual theatre. If this guy is a real critic, he should try actually researching before he writes! Clicking onto IMDB isn’t THAT hard!!