The Three Stooges [Blu-Ray] Peter and Bobby Farrelly

The Three Stooges [Blu-Ray] Peter and Bobby Farrelly
"We didn't want to do a version of the Stooges," co-director Peter Farrelly explains in one of the making-of featurettes on the Three Stooges Blu-Ray; "we wanted to do The Stooges." The final film is a loving homage, or contemporary update, to the original short films of Moe, Larry and Curly. It's a film made with no shortage of love or creativity, and every time the three main characters are on screen, it sings with imaginative, Rube Goldberg-esque sight gags and a style of violent slapstick physical comedy that has been very much out-of-vogue for decades. Even the inclusion of the Jersey Shore cast seems born out of a desire to update the original characters to a contemporary setting rather than to insert some semi-ironic commentary into the film (and it doesn't hurt that we get to see Moe put Ronnie's head in a microwave oven). The characters, excellently embodied by three relatively unknown comics (Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso), were not created for these times, and that's precisely why the film works. The hyper-artificial sound effects, the highly choreographed violence and the surreal imagery suggest an admirably uncompromising disregard for verisimilitude ― not something anyone expected from the increasingly unfunny Farrelly Brothers in 2012. It's too bad the narrative behind the gags ― the Stooges go to "the city" to raise enough money to prevent the closure of the strict Catholic orphanage that raised them ― nullifies the mean-spirited nature that makes the best gags work. Although the Catholic orphanage setting allows us to see Larry David in a habit playing a nun called Sister Mary-Mengele, which is presumably "okay" because David is Jewish. The Blu-Ray unfortunately doesn't feature a commentary track, which might have allowed the Farrelly Brothers to explain how this sudden and unexpected work of quality appeared from the barrenness of their late career output. It does include a brief but interesting featurette on the history of the Stooges, from vaudeville to short films and finally to well-remembered syndicated reruns on television, as well as featurettes on the sound effects and the behind-the-scenes problems of making a film so heavily dedicated to physical comedy. Most awkward, however, is a featurette on casting the Stooges that fails to mention that the film was once meant to star Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro. Regardless of the film's flaws, it's impressive that the Farrellys managed to create an entire film devoid of the neurotic insecurity and vulgarity that define contemporary American comedy, and that they also managed to make it funny is something for which we should be thankful. (Fox)