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Two Cranky Guys Poke “Three Stooges” in the Eyes

April 16, 2012

Bruce Fretts: The Three Stooges are back—well, kinda—and I couldn’t think of a better stooge to help me review the Farrelly Bros. reboot-in-the-ass than my former Two Cranky Guys blog partner, Bret Watson, who’s come out of semi-retirement as a belated birthday present to me. The question is, Bret: Did the new Stooges leave you wanting Moe?

Bret Watson: It made me yearn for returning to full retirement. It’s too bad we can’t enhance this review with sound effects. I feel that the movie hit me with a BOING and a THWACK and a CRKCRKCRK!

Bruce: I found it an odd choice that the Farrellys used the original sound effects. If only they’d gotten the original Larry, Curly and Moe. I’ve never been a big fan of their shorts, but the slavishly uninspired performances of TV B-listers Chris Diamantopolous, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso made me miss the vintage trio. It’s like remaking a Marx Brothers movie with Gabe Kaplan as Groucho.

Bret: I never appreciated the originals, so I thought this remake totally succeeded at capturing the faintly amusing slapstick of the original shorts. It’s fine for what it is: a movie for kids.

Bruce: I wouldn’t subject my kids to this kind of mindless violence. I’d sooner take them to see The Hunger Games. In fact, I did! The funniest part of the movie was when I went to the bathroom, then came back and asked you what I’d missed and you poked me in the eyes.

Bret: I always thought Moe was too mean when I was a kid. I guess that also marked me as the kid in the outfield who reacted to pop flies by holding my glove to my head and ducking. My hero was Groucho. Give me verbal combat over slapstick any day.

Bruce: I’ve always thought the Farrelly Bros. were too mean, which explains their fondness for the Stooges. The only Farrellys film I’ve really enjoyed was their most atypically gentle one, the baseball comedy Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon. Are you a Farrellys fan?

Bret: Too mean? I thought the rap on them was their gentle, sentimental streak, flagrantly exhibited in this movie with the totally superfluous subplot involving two cutesy orphans who get a happily-ever-after ending.

Bruce: I must’ve missed their sentimental streak between the crotch-injury gags. True, the orphan stuff was the most painful part of the new Stooges, which didn’t capture the original’s tone. In fact, it stole from other, better movies instead, like The Blues Brothers (the boys are trying to save the orphanage where they grew up) and Three Men and a Baby (when they battle each other by using peeing infants as weapons). Even Moe never stooped that low for a laugh.

Bret: True, but I was surprised that the Farrellys didn’t inject any more risqué humor into the movie than having a one or two tame jokes involving Sofia Vergara’s ample bosom. I figure I’ve given you ample fodder to chew on there.

Bruce: I’d like to chew on Sofia’s ample bosom. At least Sofia ensured that Moe, Larry and Curly weren’t the only boobs in the movie.

Bret: You need to be weaned from Sofia Vergara jokes.

Bruce: You said “weaned!” Heh heh…

Bret: I expected that in the age of Judd Apatow we’d get 21st century Stooges. Instead these Stooges stay true, and predictable, to the originals, down to the last nyuk nyuk. Although there was the appearance of Moe on Jersey Shore

Bruce: The Farrellys never met a gag they couldn’t belabor—the Jersey Shore gang should’ve had a quick cameo, but they ended up playing a major part in the third act. Let me tell you, Snooki and Co. are no good when it comes to intentional comedy. Or should I say Situation comedy? (Fist pump!)

Bret: What did I tell you about puns? [puts lobster in Bruce’s pants]

Bruce: Better than having crabs in my pants! I almost chuckled when Sean Hayes started singing soprano after the lobster chomped on his crotch, but I’d already seen the bit in the trailer. The rap on Stooges is that guys like them and women don’t find them funny. What do you think, Bret—speaking as a woman?

Bret: Knee me in the groin so I can speak as a woman. Or put a lobster in my pants.

Bruce: Well, you wouldn’t be the only one speaking as a woman. Larry David plays a nun in this movie, and it’s typical of the botched comic timing that I didn’t realize until halfway through that the character’s name is Sister Mary Mengele. The first time it’s spoken, the line is mangled so it sounds like Magdalene. Even when the movie’s got funny material, it fumbles the punchline.

Bret: Well, don’t come to the Farrellys for subtlety. Although I hate knocking them: I interviewed them once for a magazine story, and they couldn’t have been nicer, possibly the nicest celebs I ever met in Hollywood. Their movies don’t make me laugh much, though.

Bruce: I felt the same way about Howard Stern when I interviewed him. I guess they get all their aggression out on the job. Kind of like I do, as a critic. But their treatment of Jennifer Hudson in this movie constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. I can only imagine when she was accepting her Oscar, she was dreaming, “Maybe I can be wasted in a bit part as a singing nun in a Three Stooges movie.” That’s a sin.

Bret: At least she gets to sing about something more than losing weight.

Bruce: I predict a self-hate-eating binge after she sees herself in this movie. I also predict that Diamantopolous and Sasso will return to obscurity. Chris is best known for being married to Ugly Betty‘s beautiful Becki Newton. I’m guessing after seeing him with the Moe haircut, she’ll never be satisfied by him again.

Bret: Someone was arguing with me that Kevin James should have killed to play Curly, and I said no way, because the best praise you can expect to get is that you did a good impersonation of someone else. No one will remember you, just Curly. If you hadn’t told me the names of those actors, I wouldn’t have remembered them. Then again, I barely remember your name. I want to say…Swetts?

Bruce: Not since I had the glandular surgery. The good news is we only paid $6 each to see Stooges at a pre-noon matinee, and you joined me for my now-traditional hot dog snack. So my final question is, Bret: How did you enjoy your weiner? With relish?

Bret: Let’s just say the hot dog affected me more powerfully than The Three Stooges.

Bruce: And that straight line was my belated birthday gift to you. I know, I know, you wanted to let me be the straight man for a change. By the way, the hot dog was payback for the gastrointenstinal distress I suffered at that Tibetan restaurant where we ate. Ironically, I did not go in peace.

Bret: You wanted to be one with nature. And nature includes e. coli.

Bruce: Well, we’re even. Thanks for doing this. It’s soitenly been a pleasure!

Bret: Nyuk nyuk.

Did The Three Stooges knock you out? Post a comment, or we’ll moiderize you!

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