On the news that the Farrelly Bros. are going to make a Three Stooges movie, I had two thoughts. First: Well, maybe now the Three Stooges will actually be funny. Second: Oh wait, not directed by the Farrellys, they won't.
Bobby and Peter Farrelly are the Rhode Island brothers who rose to fame with Dumb & Dumber in 1994, achieved superstar status with There's Something About Mary in 1998 ... and have done almost nothing but strike out ever since. They've written and directed four films in the ensuing decade (plus Osmosis Jones and Fever Pitch, which they directed from other people's screenplays), and only their first post-Mary project, Me, Myself & Irene, has been any good.
They always have their moments, of course. Shallow Hal managed to squeeze out a few chuckles before turning sappy and P.C. The lunacy of Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as Siamese twins in Stuck on You made the film watchable, but the comedy was genteel and toothless. The Farrellys tried to return to their gross-out roots with 2007's Heartbreak Kid, but all they succeeded at was reminding us how many funnier R-rated comedies we'd already seen that year.
Now Variety reports that the Farrellys are making a feature-length Three Stooges film. It will not be a biopic, i.e., a behind-the-scenes look at the Stooges of the 1930s and '40s. Instead, it will be a collection of three brand-new 25-minute Stooges shorts, just like they used to make in the old days, though obviously with new actors as Larry, Moe and Curly.
(You know what would be awesome, though? If they used the reanimated corpses of the original actors. When will revivification technology catch up with the demands of modern filmmaking?)
While the trio's gift for physical comedy is undeniable, I never found the Stooges to be particularly funny. For me, a little nose-tweaking and face-slapping goes a long way. The idea of watching 90 minutes of it -- and not even by the original masters but by some imitators -- is not appealing in the slightest. It sounds, you'll pardon the expression, like a poke in the eye.
And the Farrellys? Oy vey. The Stooges became legends through their short films. The Farrellys, on the other hand, have never made a film that wasn't too long. They're always around 115 minutes, and they always feel like they should have been 90. These are not the guys to put in charge of something meant to be short, snappy, and energetic (or, if their recent work is any indication, funny).
So who should make the new Three Stooges movie? Um, how about no one? How does that grab you? If you want to introduce the Stooges' genius to a new generation, there's this thing called "DVD" that allows you to watch old movies in the comfort of your own home. The Farrellys have professed a love for the Stooges and said they want to do this as a tribute to them. I always find that rationale illogical: "We love them so much that we want to create an inferior imitation of them! We want to spread our love for the Stooges by completely ruining whatever it was that people liked about them!" I always say, if you love something, leave it the hell alone.
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Eric D. Snider's website makes you feel like you ducked to avoid getting hit with the plank of wood, only to have it strike you in the back of the head when it comes back the other way.