The Three Stooges as reviewed in The Phantom TollboothSlapstick comedy never gets old because we all fall for it. No trio did it better and with more intensity than the Three Stooges.

Now the Three Stooges are back in a full length film and with them a flood of nostalgic memories of the past. Those who loved to watch the shorts will appreciate the length the filmmakers went to in order to capture everything we loved about these bumbling, big hearted guys. Bobby and Peter Farrelly (screenplay/directors) do a lot of things right in this family farce.

Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes), and Curly (Will Sasso) have lived at an orphanage since they were little babies. Now that the home is in danger of being closed down they head out on their own for the first time to try and raise money to keep the doors open. Hilarity ensues when the find themselves in the middle of a reality TV show and a murder for hire crime. Of course it all includes numerous eye pokes, hair pulls, and snide one liners from Moe.

Chris, Sean, and Will are near perfect in their personification of the original characters. It is obvious they watched countless hours of footage in order to get down the mannerisms and voice inflections. These are iconic figures and to not do them spot on would have ruined the movie. In fact it is almost scary how close to Curly Sasso comes. Plus you can tell that they play the characters with admiration and respect. Never is there the sense they are making fun or degrading them.

In this day and time we have seen so many remakes take the crude and crass direction. Films forgo creativity for foul jokes and perverse antics. The Farrelly brothers in the past have been known for going the raunchy route too. Thankfully this time they understood the need to allow the Stooges to exude the genuine spirit they always had. Everything that made the stooges endearing in the originals stand strong in this new rendition. They walk to the line a few times but have the good sense to back off and not push the envelope. The brothers even have a disclaimer at the end where they explain to the kids that the violence is all a gag and that people should never hit each other like that. They show that the props are rubber and then explain how the sound effects make it seem real.

The Three Stooges is rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language. If you are familiar at all with these guys you know that there are ongoing slaps, hitting with a hammer, a saw to the head, pliers to the tongue, etc. But it is comedic and funny. The sound effects are the best part in making it all come alive. If your little one feels the need to always recreate what they see on screen you might want to hide the tool-chest and keep them off the roof. But to take away the violence would be to lose the entire point. Also there are one or two moments were the assets of co-star Sofía Vergara are prominently displayed. Again, it is boobs meet slapstick. I give The Three Stooges 4 out of 5 shots to the gut. It certainly isn't everyone's brand of humor and if you take yourself too seriously then you will not get this one. Yes the writing is childish and predictable. But I have to applaud the perfection that went into recreating the icons we know from the past.


Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.