The Three Stooges Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
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.Directed by Bobby Farrelly. Peter Farrelly. Starring Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release April 13, 2012. Updated July 8, 2016
The Three Stooges
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Three Stooges rated PG? The Three Stooges is rated PG by the MPAA for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language.
Violence: Pervasive and aggressive slapstick violence throughout, often with the intent to harm. Characters are hit with fists and various objects, punched, poked in the eyes and pushed off roofs and platforms. Characters hair and eyelashes are pulled out. Parents should note that many of these actions are easily mimicked and are presented in a comedic context. A man aims a gun, but does not shoot. A shotgun is used to pop balloons that are carrying a young girl into the air—she falls and is not harmed. A man is hit by various vehicles but is not killed. A lion in a zoo, which becomes aggressive after being shot in the testicles with a peanut, attacks a man locked inside its cage… we later see the man with a large bloody gash on his face. A man is attacked in the head with a chainsaw. A character is burned on the bare chest with two hot irons. Later another character is intentionally burned on the tongue with a hot curling iron. A man has a flyer stapled to the back of his head and another is shot in the leg with an arrow. Characters become involved in a murder plot. A man’s eyes begin to bulge when is head is caught in a microwave oven.
A short disclaimer at the end of the film does warn audiences of the dangers associated with some of the on screen violence.
Sexual Content: A woman’s clothing exposes her cleavage in numerous scenes. A woman is seen in a very revealing swimsuit. A sound effect accompanies the squishing of a woman’s breast while helping a man scale a wall. A married woman is shown in bed with another man at a hotel called the Filander Inn.
Language: Repeated name-calling including “stupid” and “moron” is used along with “shut up” and two terms of Christian deity.
Drugs/Alcohol: A man is drugged with an unknown substance that induces sleep. Social drinking portrayed. A cigar is used as a prop. At least two product placements for beer are included.
Other: An extended scene depicts infants in a nursery urinating on adult characters who use the babies as human squirt guns. No frontal nudity is seen but a baby is kicked across the floor of the nursery.
Page last updated July 8, 2016
The Three Stooges Parents' Guide
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
The most recent home video release of The Three Stooges movie is July 17, 2012. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: The Three Stooges
Release Date: 17 July 2012
The Three Stooges releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) in an Unrated version. The package includes the following featurettes:
- What’s the Big Idea? A History of The Three Stooges
- Knuckleheads: Behind the Scenes of The Three Stooges
- Did You Hear that? The Three Stooges Sound Effects
- Poifect: Casting The Three Stooges
- Deleted/extended scenes
- The Three Stooges Mash-up feature
- Original screen test
Related home video titles:
A collection of sketches by the original comedy team can be found on The Three Stooges: Cops and Robbers.
Babies are also dropped off at orphanages in Meet the Robinsons and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Other famous characters raised in homes for the parentless include, Madeline, Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre.