Monday, April 16, 2012

Rant #717: Three Stooges ... Hey, Take It From a "Real" Larry (nyuck, nyuck)

My family and I saw the new Three Stooges movie this weekend.

Let me tell you about the plot first before I tell you whether I liked it or not.

Moe, Larry and Curly are dropped off--more like thrown to--a Catholic orphanage, and they grow up as being the most un-adoptable of the children at the orphanage.

Moe comes the closest to getting adopted, but because he wants his friends with him, he gets brought back to the orphanage. Another boy is adopted in his place.

Through the years, the boys grow up at the orphanage, and they cause nothing but havoc no matter what they do.

Then the orphanage cannot pay its mortgage, and the boys set out to try to find a way to pay what the orphanage owes.

In the middle of this, they get embroiled in a murder plot involving the buxom wife of the kid who was adopted in the place of Moe so many years earlier. The wife wants to get rid of her husband so she can get together with someone else, which ends up being not him, but someone else she wants to get together with.

The Three Stooges end up triumphing over evil, but while they don't save the orphanage, the place survives in another guise.

That's it, in a nutshell.

No, this picture won't drain your brain at all, and the movie makers really try hard to make the "new" Three Stooges as believable as possible, but ultimately, these "new" Three Stooges have even less credibility than the Joe Besser Three Stooges years did, or even less than the cartoon Stooges did.

They really do try. The three actors portraying the Stooges look, act, talk and poke, hit and punch just like the original Three Stooges did, but they just aren't Moe, Larry and Curly, they are actors portraying Moe, Larry and Curly, and there is a difference.

Sure, there were some funny and somewhat clever sight gags, and the filmmakers--Peter and Bobby Farrelly--are obviously big Three Stooges fans, because there are some nuances in the film that make that pretty clear.

So I give them kudos for that. That is much different than what I have seen with other reboots, where they take a title, let's say, "Get Smart," and have no clue about what made the original so terrific. The reboot is a botch job, and falls by the wayside.

But even though this film tries, there is something missing from it that is an integral part of the Three Stooges experience, whether you realized it or not.

I think one reason that the new film kind of falls flat is that it is missing that "Yiddishkeit" that the original shorts had.

What I mean by that is that the Three Stooges were Jews, and much of their humor was derived from that experience. There are many in-jokes in those original shorts, and as a Jew, I can see them loud and clear, whether it is the use of certain names, places, or other sight gags and jokes.

In this film, everything is homogenized, made vanilla, and you simply don't get that.

But I guess that if you are below the age of, let's say, 25, you might like this picture.

It wasn't quite the worst movie I have ever seen, but I have seen better.

Think of it this way: The Three Stooges movie is to the original Three Stooges as the new Yankee Stadium is to the original Yankee Stadium.

It's a good facsimile, but it isn't the real thing.

But if you are a young kid, and you don't know what the real thing is, this film will do.

And the laughs I heard from the kids in the theater tells me that a lot of people, younger people, really liked this film.

I think the moviemakers knew this, and catered to that audience.

There were some very mild sexually oriented jokes, but a lot of that stuff--which was included in the original trailer--was edited out of the final cut, so what you get is generally a safe film for kids, made more so by the disclaimer at the end, where the moviemakers tell the kids that the hammers, knives and other things that were used in the movie were rubber and fake.

Why they felt the need to do this is beyond me. I guess they wanted to protect themselves just in case any kid started to hit his brother's head with a hammer, but previous generations never had this problem, so why would the current one have such a problem?

I don't get it, and I really don't get making movies, or reboots, like this one.

It reminded me years ago of The Little Rascals movie. I took my then very young daughter to see this, and it was even more implausible than the Stooges film. You had the characters of Farina and Buckwheat together in the same movie at basically the same age, which was an impossibility, but I guess the moviemakers took certain liberties, just like they did with the Stooges movie.

Oh well, to sum it up, not the worst movie out there, but far from the best, the Three Stooges movie should appeal to younger kids who don't know any better.

Now, after seeing this film, what their parents should do is to buy, rent or find the original Three Stooges shorts, and let the kids watch them--then the kids will see the real, honest to goodness Stooges, not copies.

And I guarantee that they will love the originals.

How can you make a real copy of a concept that lasted generations?

Here's to Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, and even to Joe Besser and Curly Joe DeRita.

They were the real thing, and the real thing is just that.

And take it from a real Larry, this copy is just a copy, and little more.

(P.S.: Seeing this film marked the 50th anniversary of seeing my first Stooges movie in the movie theater--"The Three Stooges in Orbit" (1962). My father swore that he would never take me to see any film ever again after sitting through this movie, where the mainly kids audience was throwing things, talking and yelling and screaming and making a mess of themselves. He didn't keep his promise, but I did see my second Stooges film with my friends: "The Outlaws Is Coming" (1965).)

No comments:

Post a Comment


yasmin lawsuit