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“The Three Stooges”—(Nyuk Nyuk’s for Nitwits)

When one’s expectations are low, a decent movie is a pleasant surprise. So it is with “The Three Stooges,” a movie that has all the elements that made the old Larry, Moe and Curly low-class humor icons.

The new Three are played by Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos and Will Sasso. Sean Hayes (AKA Jack McFarland of “Will and Grace”) sounds so uncannily like Larry Fine that I wonder if all his lines were dubbed by another voice talent. The other two actors capture the essence of the Moe and Curly we’ve watched for over half a century.

Eye pokes, hammer whacks and other forms of physical abuse come early and often, accompanied by loud and effective sound effects. As with the old Stooges shorts, some are hilarious, others are redundant. (There’s a postscript to the movie which says, basically, “Kids, don’t try this stuff at home!”)

The movie’s story has L, M & C attempting to raise $830,000 to save the orphanage where they were raised by nuns (played by the likes of Jane Lynch and, yes, Larry David). The classic Stooge bit of making a mess of a party for a group of swells is also a turning point in the plot.

My love for the original Stooges peaked when I was still in single digits. Oh, I’ve watched them and laughed from time to time over the years, but do not consider myself a Stooges connoisseur. Hardcore Stooges fans will, I think, find the movie acceptable and enjoyable. Some may even love it.

Will kids like it? My guess is yes. Boys may enjoy it more than girls do.

I recall Jay Leno’s observation that a key difference between men and women is that men like The Three Stooges and women don’t like them. We’ll see if that holds true when the box office figures for the weekend are released.



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