The Three Stooges review (Blu-ray)

This modern take on the classic Three Stooges received a savaging from critics upon its theatrical release in 2012 – particularly from UK critics and bloggers, most of whom would have never seen a Stooges short in their lives. Frankly, it was a completely unfair and unwarranted savaging, because this loving Farrelly Brothers tribute to the three knuckleheads hits all the right notes (and pokes the right eyes).

First, some background. The original Three Stooges were a vaudeville act in the 1930s who transferred first to short films and then to television. Their act primarily consisted of them getting into ridiculous scrapes and fighting among themselves with lots of slapping, punching, eye-poking and hitting each other with hammers, frying pans or any other tools that come to hand. Throw in a few nyuk-nyuks and woo-woo-woos and you have 20 minutes or so of slapstick hilarity. The Stooges are from the same era as the Marx Brothers, but where they were more about clever wordplay and situations, the Stooges were more about silliness and physical comedy.

Cut to 2012, and the Farrelly Brothers have crafted a loving, and very clever, homage to these comedy greats. The casting could not be better – Diamantopoulos (Moe), Hayes (Larry) and Sasso (Curly) perfectly embody the Stooges we all know and love, in looks, voices and mannerisms. It's almost as though the original Stooges themselves have been transported in time, these guys are that good. The plot sees the guys having to raise $830,000 to save the orphanage that raised them, and in doing so they get caught up in a murder plot. Cue lots of slapstick shenanigans.

The support cast is terrific, with Lynch, Hudson and David playing nuns – David in particular seems has a ball as the awful Sister Mary-Mengele. And Vergara puts her assets to great use as a woman looking to have her husband bumped off. On the downside, we are subjected to the cast of the reality TV show Jersey Shore ...

As a kid, I loved catching the old Three Stooges shorts on TV (they made about 180 or so in the 30s, 40s and 50s). The misadventures of Moe, Larry and Curly (and later, Shemp) made me giggle like a loon. So I was thrilled to see the care and love that the Farrelly brothers put in to this update. As a homage to the originals, this outing cannot be faulted. This film perfectly recaptures the look and feel of the old Stooges shorts, for which fans should be over the moon.

EXTRAS ★★★ There are eight deleted and extended scenes (9:29); the featurette What's The Big Idea? A History of The Three Stooges (10:39); the featurette Knuckleheads: Behind The Scenes of The Three Stooges (5:11); the featurette Did You Hear That? The Three Stooges Sound Effects (4:11); the featurette Poifect! Casting The Three Stooges (9:12); The Three Stooges Mash-Up (3:10); the Original Screen Test (4:06); and the theatrical trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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