Making the Grades
As fair warning to readers who enjoy the puerile and lowbrow antics of Larry, Moe and Curly, I’ll admit I’ve never liked the Three Stooges, either the early American movie characters and even less so the updated, thwacking trio played by Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate slapstick. But this threesome is way beyond bumbling idiots. Deliberate intent to harm is dished out in their eye-poking, head-bashing, hair-pulling farce. And if your interest in this movie comes from some kind of reverence for film history, don’t be fooled. Nothing is historically accurate about the appearance of the Jersey Shore cast in this sophomoric comedy.
Broken into three segments, the story begins when a careening car speeds up to the door of an orphanage and unceremoniously tosses a duffel bag of babies on to the steps. If Sister Mary-Mengle (Larry David) had any inkling of the trouble these triplets would cause, she likely would have disposed of them then and there. But 25 years later, Larry (Hayes), Moe (Diamantopoulos) and Curly’s (Sasso) propensity for personal injury and property damage are the reason the orphanage is facing bankruptcy.
With good intentions but absolutely no grasp of the challenge, the three slaphappy handymen leave the nuns’ care with the aim of raising a staggering amount of money in a mere 30 days. When the solution finally unfolds it is utterly ridiculous considering the number of problems the script easily glosses over. But then what’s reality when it comes to The Three Stooges?
To their credit (or possibly at the suggestion of their legal department) the film’s directors, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, include a disclaimer at the end of the movie explaining that rubber hammers and sound effects were used. Their spokesmen also remind children to play safe at home. But it may have been a last minute decision considering one man shows up on the set with his shirt unbuttoned and hanging open in a slightly provocative posturing. (What’s that all about?)
However this addendum seems a little too little, a little too late. With the exception of a chainsaw used on a man’s skull and a character that is hit by a bus, swept up by a street cleaner, blown up with dynamite and attacked by an angry zoo lion, many of the “stunts” in this movie are extremely mimickable. (This coming from a woman who has seen what Power Rangers can inspire in a bunch of young boys.) Among other things, characters are poked, slapped, hit with hammers, pushed, seared on the chest with two hot irons, stapled in the head, burned on the tongue with a curling iron and kicked all for the sake of a cheap laugh.
If that’s a bit much for a movie that only garnered a PG rating, there’s more. A nun wears a bikini made from little more than the scraps. Sophia Vergara’s generous cleavage gets numerous close ups. A couple of product placements for beer appear and a murder plot involves guns.
Am I taking The Three Stooges’ silly exploits too seriously? I don’t think so. It’s only fun and games until somebody gets poked in the eye.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Three Stooges.
The violence in this film is intended to be funny, however it frequently targets another person with an intent to harm or embarrass. How does this type of violence compare with other movies where similar pratfalls occur, but they are due to a person’s clumsy manner or foolishness? What types of violence do you think young children may be tempted to mimic?
How are adoption and foster care portrayed in this movie? Would most children prefer to find a loving home rather than live in an orphanage?
Learn about the original Three Stooges here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Stooges
Check out their official website here: http://www.threestooges.com