I just sent off my review of The Three Stooges to my family movie syndicators (marketing alert: if you’re interested in running my family movie and TV reviews, learn more here), and I have mixed views about this movie.
On the one hand, the guys are fantastic. Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry), and especially Will Sasso (Curly) not only have all the right moves, but also great timing. It’s easy to watch this movie and feel like you’re watching the real-life Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard in the original shorts from the 1930s and 40s.
But I’m not totally sure their brand of humor plays that well in 2012. I don’t mind the eye-poking, head-smashing and catapulting. To me, that’s typical Three Stooges humor you’d expect to find in a movie about them.
But I downright cringed when Moe took a running chainsaw to Curly’s head, and later when another character was hit by a bus, and we actually SAW him get run over by that bus. It made me edgy, and I had to stop and figure out why. Aren’t those typical Stooges stunts, too?
Well, no. Stunts like that hit too close to home. Watch the news every day, and you’ll hear about all kinds of tragedies. I keep thinking about that awful accident a while back where the girl’s arm was cut off by a helicopter blade. Not that something like that would ever end up in a Three Stooges movie — I would hope not, anyway.
In the movie, there are also some stunts involving guns, and those make me cringe, too. I’m not totally anti-gun, but I’m anti-guns-handled-with-careless-abandon. People with guns kill other people — both intentionally and accidentally.
To the Farrelly Brothers’ credit, they included a funny little “don’t try this at home, kids” disclaimer at the end of the movie — complete with the studly Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Justin Lopez portraying the Farrelly Brothers. They showed how the hammers and other objects were made of soft sponge or breakaway materials. It’s probably not a bad idea.
I had a Twitter conversation with a friend last week about whether kids try to imitate things they see onscreen. He said if that was the case, then kids would be trying to drop anvils on each other like Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Still, there’s a difference between cartoon characters and real people.
Am I taking The Three Stooges humor too seriously? Does it hit too close to real-life tragedies? Or should I just relax and laugh it off?