Comedy is an evolving medium, while some classics will continue to permeate, as the expanses of culture and comedy continue onwards, some others get lost in the archives or the occasional rerun. One such example was The Three Stooges from the early 20s to the 70s, which entertained many with their antics, but reruns can only bring in new fans for so long. In 2012 one of the most influential comedy icons of yesteryear was resurrected into a feature-length film, exposing a new audience and new players to the iconic comedy of The Three Stooges.
Three orphans, Larry, Curly and Moe are abandoned at the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, with no family with a big enough heart to adopt all three of them. They end up 35 years later, still at the Orphanage working odd jobs and inadvertently trying the nun’s patience. But due to their hazardous antics, the insurance premiums are bankrupting the sisters. Unless the sisters raise 830,000 in 30 days, the orphanage will be disbanded. The lunkheads take it upon themselves, to go on a quest to save their childhood orphanage, by completing odd jobs of various repute, all ineptly influencing a dastardly plot that intertwines the trio’s efforts.
I was more Laurel and Hardy than The Three Stooges growing up, but you can understand the trios lasting appeal to fans of all ages. The feature film tries to pay homage anyway it can, for instance, breaking up the action into roughly 20 minutes chunks, with intertitles emulating the short films that the original trio found their fame. But cleverly manages to link these ‘shorts’ into an overarching narrative. With the original Stooges long since passed, the new trio does a good job of emulating the traits, drawing on the talents of Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos as Larry, Curly, & Moe respectively. Helping them put is the likes of Larry David, and Jean Smart to help land the laughs. It was a shame that Jim Carey couldn’t commit to this project, health reasons aside, out of the many stars projected to take on the project, he was one of the ones I could see being most suited for the role.
There is a peculiar, warped sense of tone that follows the film, as the cartoon logic The Three Stooges ply in the films feel stark to the contemporary setting. With some scenarios like the trio being hired to ‘euthanise’ someone is almost immediately being counteracted with them dressed as nurses, forced to babysit urinating babies. It’s not just slapstick that the film excels in, The surreal sight of countless dead fish, flopping on a golf course, is something that every comedy fan should see with their own two eyes. The modern reboot is set in 2012, and like many reboots, gives the franchise an ample opportunity to provide an intriguing reflection on society, the rise of iPhones, and the cultural impact of Jersey Shore. Accompanied by hit tracks from the likes of Foster the People and LMAFO gives the classic comedy a modern feel.
Reboots can be difficult, you want to keep the old while bringing a lot of the new, The Three Stooges does a good job of balancing both sides. Their slapstick capering is a good fit for the then in vogue outlandish comedies of the early 2010s, and the appeal of the antics will probably entertain all ages. The new reboot does an accurate job at capturing the original capering of the trio. In crafting a hip, and modern entry point into the countless decades of comedy. Just goes to show that almost a century on, the audience can’t resist the comedy stylings of those Knuckleheads.
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