'The Three Stooges': What the Critics Are Saying

5:40 PM PST 04/13/2012 by Paula Zulian

The Farrelly brothers' 20th Century Fox comedy starring Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso and Sean Hayes hits theaters this weekend and reactions are lukewarm.

The Three Stooges is back.

Directed by brothers Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, the 20th Century Fox movie brings back the beloved trio, this time starring Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso and Sean Hayes in the roles of Moe, Curly and Larry respectively.

In the comedy, the brothers are trying to save their childhood orphanage and inadvertently stumble into a murder plot and wind up starring in a reality TV show. The cast also includes Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson and Larry David.

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of 'The Three Stooges'

The Three Stooges is projected to do well at the box office; it's estimated that the film will earn $15 million on opening weekend. At the moment, the movie is averaging a 43 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but what do the film critics have to say?

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy generally liked the movie, calling it a "funny, good-hearted resuscitation of Hollywood's beloved lowbrow lunkheads," in his review. He also noted, "the main commercial question mark perhaps centers upon 30ish viewers with a Stooge gap, too young to have grown up on syndicated TV broadcasts but too old to have had their childhoods enhanced by the DVD repackagings."

Betsy Sharkey from the Los Angeles Times says, "They have embraced the comic absurdity of the classic trio so wholeheartedly that it's almost impossible not to be won over by the eye-poking, head-slapping, nose-twisting shenanigans that pepper nearly every scene. (There's a funny disclaimer for kids at the end with two bodybuilder types claiming to be the Farrellys basically warning: 'Don't do this at home.')"

The New York Times' Manohla Dargis points out, "While The Three Stooges has a few aww moments, as might be expected given that it’s partly set in an orphanage, and although the Farrellys go soft on the Stooges’ relationships, the filmmakers never lose sight of the crude comedy that inspired them. The Stooges’ bonds of brotherhood may be strong, but they’re ties forged by a choreographed roundelay of resonant whacks and other instances of extreme discipline and punishment."

The Wall Street Journal's critic says, "If anyone could update the Three Stooges’ brand of violently stoopid slapstick for the 21st century, it would be the Farrelly Brothers. And while critics say they’re helped immeasurably by the uncanny performances by Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Will Sasso as Larry, Moe, and Curly, The Three Stooges is ultimately a not-bad comedy with some decent gags and a little too much filler. In their attempts to save the financially-strapped orphanage where they were raised, the Stooges get mixed up in a murder plot and find themselves involved in a reality show."

Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman points out, "A lot of what makes the Stooges' comedy work, especially in their vintage films of the '30s, is that their finger-in-the-face brutality is so loopy and spontaneous that it's like watching the live-action version of a super-violent Tex Avery cartoon." Gleiberman also comments about the joke made at Jersey Shore star Snooki's expense: "That's true even when Moe ends up as a reality star on Jersey Shore, a joke that sounds brilliant in theory but that, to me, actually took the movie out of Stooges land."

comments powered by Disqus