I don't remember The Three Stooges being funny. As a child I was largely unimpressed by all the eye-poking, funny jigs and yelling, because I got enough of that at home. And to call the trailers for this remake abysmal would be kind. Somehow in a miracle more impressive than that carpenter guy rising from the dead, the latest Farrelly brothers movie, against all odds, had me laughing as hard as There's Something About Mary. I still can't fully comprehend how the three knucklehead brothers translate perfectly into the 21st century, but they definitely do.
First off, the casting choices were impeccable and reminded me what a great sense of humor the Farrelly's have. Although my memory of the Stooges is admittedly hazy, all of their different-aged versions are consistent and succeeded in making me forget there even were originals (to note, Robert Capron plays Young Curly, and he memorably sang a Ke$ha song in the last Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, and I might adopt him in the near future). Larry David plays Sister Mary-Mengele, in what I think is the most believable and endearing depiction of a nun since Debbie Reynolds sang in a habit (take that, Whoopi Goldberg). She/he serves as a holy terror in the Stooges lives, and as punishment she/he gets knocked around, which is what everyone wants to see happen to Larry David anyway. The fact that he's wearing a dress is a bonus.
You can't go expecting an ingenious plot--but there's plenty of orphan ridicule, and Craig Bierko steps on Sofia Vergara's boobs at one point, so there's plenty to entertain you. The Stooges have grown up in an orphanage for all 35 years of their lives. One day they learn that it will be shut down unless someone comes up with almost a million dollars at the end of the month, so they go off in search of fortune to save everyone. Their gospel sendoff from Jennifer Hudson/Sister Rosemary is one of the only times Hudson looks like she understands her purpose in the film. But even though that kind of stuff is normally annoying and lowers the value of a movie, here, it only makes it funnier. I seriously don't know what happened, you guys, but this movie is good from start to finish.
Of course our bumbling brothers find a way to make quick cash, which will eventually lead to Bierko's boob-stepping. Poor Sofia Vergara's punishment for being so smoking hot is to play a less-than-intelligent-or-moral woman, and in this film she's a gold digger who wears tight sweaters. Hers and Bierko's evil-people comeuppance is slapstick at its best. Somehow the perfect balance is struck, and throughout all the coincidences and simplicity of a Stooges plot, nothing ever goes too far over the top or gets exhausting. Each section of the movie falls into three "episodes" that really helps with the pacing, too. It felt quick as a flash, and even the Jersey Shore cast comes out looking relatively sharp.
Although I am still bewildered by it, enjoying this movie has inspired me to revisit the original material. It's making me chuckle just as much. Could it be that I had to mature a little in order to enjoy such juvenile pleasures? Man, am I confused. And my tummy hurts from all the laughing.