Irreverent comedic capers boost ‘Stooges’By Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Farrelly Brothers are popular exponents of comedy flicks, some of them of the gross and even gross-out variety. For the filmmaking siblings’ new film, “The Three Stooges,” however, they have had to “soften” the verbal and visual zingers they dish out, because children are watching.
Some of the Farrelly brothers’ past hits have been consciously canted to an older and randier demographic, but the Three Stooges have been popular with children since their inception many decades ago, so it’s back to the basics with the Farrelly brothers’ current revival production, the naughtier preferences of its “twin” directors notwithstanding.
So, will the new comedy flick develop a new following for the zany Stooges? That could happen, because their comedic capers, while cleaned up some, are still irreverent and even “anarchic” enough for kids to raucously delight in.
The film is set in an orphanage, where the foundlings include our zany triplets, who are already in their 30s but still unadopted and unadoptable, due to their prankish proclivities.
They mean no harm to anybody, but they’re such klutzes that most everything they do turns into a disaster.
Even the sainted nuns who run the orphanage are sorely tested by the “terrible” triplets’ gaffes, and one nun in particular gets the bulk of their painful prankishness. Instructively, the poor victim is played by a man, because if an actress portrayed her, she and the audience wouldn’t be able to take it—and still find it funny!
What little storytelling the movie has to offer focuses on the Stooges’ misadventures when they finally go out into the real world to find enough money to keep the orphanage open.
Nobody wants to hire them, of course, until their cluelessness perfectly fits the dastardly plot of two lovers to kill her husband, so they can live the high life off his vast fortune.
They believe that the Stooges are so stupid that they can be manipulated to do anything. —Well, they sure have another think coming!
Fact is, the triplets are so out of it that, even when they think they’re cooperating with the devil himself, they still get everything wrong—and thus inadvertently end up on the side of the angels! Figure that out.
But, that’s the way this cinematic cookie crumbles, or bumbles, or bungles, as the case may be. Still, the messy and improbable resolution is made more bearable by the fact that the zaftig Sofia Vergara has been tapped to play the film’s resident female villain.
Her unique combination of sexiness and comedic smarts enables us to “forgive” this clunky final portion of the movie for its repetitiveness and lack of really funny scenes.
We’re also grateful that the Farrelly brothers were particularly judicious in finding the right actors to play the adult Stooges, Larry, Moe and Curly (the guy with no hair at all)!
They don’t just look exactly like the cartoon characters they play, but they also invest their assigned roles with the energy and “craziness” needed to light up the movie screen.
Finally, it’s noteworthy to share that the Farrelly brothers appear at the end of the movie to explain to young viewers that the “painful” pranks in the flick weren’t real, but were in fact created with rubber hammers and other props that didn’t hurt the actors involved.
“Please don’t do this at home,” they urged young viewers, and we admired them all the more for their unusual sense of responsibility for the possibly harmful effects of their movies on very young viewers.
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