In the 1980′s, Independent television stations would show cartoons on Sunday mornings. As a child, I would often wake up extra early to partake in a huge helping of animation before going to church. Sometimes, however, my fun was preempted by a series of shorts starring a comedy trio known as The Three Stooges. My young, fragile mind hadn’t yet learned to appreciate such things. For me, black and white meant one thing: boredom. Add that to the fact that I hadn’t yet learned to appreciate live action slapstick and you already know how I saw them. Watching three grown ass men beat each other up just wasn’t as fun as watching cartoon animals do the same.
My aversion to such things carried over into my adulthood, as I never developed an affinity for the misadventures of Larry, Moe, and Curly. Well, a trailer for the new Farrelly Brothers film has me rethinking my stance.
The Three Stooges is, as the title clearly indicates, a modern feature film version of the old comedy shorts. It features Larry, Moe, and Curly trying to save the orphanage they grew up in. They manage to bungle their way into a murder conspiracy which, of course, results in even more outlandish hijinks.
In the 1990’s, Bobby and Peter Farrelly were fast emerging as the reigning kings of slapstick. Films like Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary proved immensely popular at the box office. Alas, that momentum was not sustainable and began to taper off after the dawn of the new millennium. The Farrelly’s now try their hand at reinventing one of the best known Vaudevillian comedy acts of all time.
It’s doubtful that inflated expectations will be a factor, seeing as how the Farrelly’s are well past their creative prime. They haven’t had a true hit in years and likely aren’t worried about damaging what’s left of their reputations.
I began watching this trailer with an impenetrable poker face. I was expecting parade of tired sight gags and stunts. By the time I was midway through, I had laughed myself into a sore throat and a mild headache. This film offers exactly what one would expect from a Three Stooges film, with all of the sound effects and pratfalls intact. This stuff is the living embodiment of mindless silliness. It doesn’t hurt that the actors selected have been made up to look like the original actors/characters. Of all the gags shown, my personal favorite shows the guys attempting to do a John McLane off of a roof with a fire hose. In true Stooges fashion, things do not goes as planned.
What has fostered my apparent change of heart regarding The Three Stooges? The trailer is pretty worthless on its own merits. It plays on the same level as a Wayans Brothers comedy. Still, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit to laughing like a five year old throughout the entire thing. It seems that after all these years, my sense of humor is actually more juvenile now than it was 27 years ago. While that doesn’t speak very well for me, it might bode well for this film. Reaction to the trailer has been toxic thus far, indicating that Stooges fans aren’t happy with what they see. Maybe they should all get into a room together and take turns poking each other’s eyes out and hitting each other over the head with various implements. After they’ve knocked themselves unconscious, the rest of us can actually sit back and enjoy the movie.
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