By Roger Moore McClatchy-Tribune News Service
There’s an inner 9-year-old in us all, dying to get out, to laugh at pratfalls, slaps, eye-pokes and fart jokes.
That’s what Fox and the Farrelly Brothers are counting on. That’s why they’ve revived “The Three Stooges,” those princes of the puerile, champions of the childish and lions of lowbrow.
And from the moment Larry David appears, in full nun’s wimple and habit, as Sister Mary-Mengele (hah!), this updating of the Stooges works. (Or should we say “woiks”?)
We meet them the day they’re hurled, in a bundle, at the door of an orphanage. They grow into troublesome orphans with bad haircuts.
“No wonder (adoptive) parents didn’t want youse,” Sister Mary-Mengele hisses. But Mother Superior (Jane Lynch) and Sister Rosemary (Jennifer Hudson) tolerate them. For decades.
So that when, 35 years after arriving there, their orphanage faces foreclosure, the sort-of adult Larry (Sean Hayes), Curly (Will Sasso) and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) are there to save the day. Sort of.
But it’s going to be impossible to raise $830,000 through ineptly performed odd jobs, even if Moe is “startin’ to get half a brain in my head.” Fortunately, they run into a femme fatale (Sofia Vergara, at her Vergara-iest) who wants them to smother her “dying” husband.
Little does she know she’s hired mayhem in high-water pants for the job.
“Those three eeeeeeediiots!”
Little does anyone know these three are in over their heads in the modern world.
“Are you guys on Facebook? I’ll poke you!”
Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.
The Farrellys, who have fallen off raunchy comedy’s cutting edge in recent years, manage the right tone. Sound effects amp up the laughs (an accidental poke in Vergara’s D-cup may be the raciest thing in it) and they’ve scored with their casting. This originally was supposed to have Oscar-winning stars, but thankfully, Sean Penn is nowhere to be found.
The new Stooges are affectionate homages to the originals: Moe and Curly Howard and Larry Fine. Hayes (of TV’s “Will &Grace”) is the most mannered, and the only one you see giving a performance. Not that he isn’t funny as all get-out. But Sasso and Diamantopoulos ARE Curly and Moe.
The Farrellys cleaned up their act for a kiddie audience. They even appear on camera for a “don’t do this at home” disclaimer at the end, because, as ever, the Stooges are for kids.
Not that plenty of grown-ups won’t get a kick out of what Moe does to “The Jersey Shore.” Because they have it coming.
“The Three Stooges” (3 stars)
The Farrelly Brothers clean up the stooges’ act for kids in this engaging slapstick. The cast, which pays homage to the originals, woiks. With Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos as Curly, Moe and Larry.
Rated: PG for slapstick action violence, rude and suggestive humor, language.
Showing: Alderwood, Cinebarre, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place, Woodinville, Blue Fox, Cascade Mall, Oak Harbor.