a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The new Stooges rock as grapeheads

By Scott Beveridge

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Movies always hypnotize me in my seat once the lights dim at big-screen theaters so heavily that I often don't know where I am by the time the credits begin to roll.

They take me to a place where I don't even notice rude theatergoers who talk, text or tip-toe in and out of their seats for popcorn refills.

But it was impossible Saturday to avoid breaking out of that spell to say, "Why I oughta...." while taking in the new "The Three Stooges" at SouthSide Works Cinema in Pittsburgh.

The many children in the audience pulled me back to life every time they collectively let out those wonderful, uncontrollable and spontaneous laughs that seem to originate in their toes.

It "soitenly" was a joy to my ears, loud laughter that I hadn't heard since I was a kid and in similar stitches decades ago at movie theaters watching the same antics performed by the original Stooges.

The new actors in the roles of Moe, Larry and Curly, respectively, Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso, have delivered nothing short of a perfect recreation of the original act. Sasso is especially spot-on as that  knucklehead Curly, the lovable "victim of soicumstance."

This movie succeeds in every way, even when this trio of old-school vaudeville players time-travel into the 21st Century, where Moe upstages and slaps around Snooki and her "Jersey Shore" costars.

Oddly, though, the addendum to this flick includes a paranoia-inspired demonstration of the hammers Moe used to strike Curly to explain the tools were fake, made of rubber, and their blows had been amplified by sound effects. 

That dialogue also took me back to my childhood, reminding me of my post-Victorian-era grandmother's drama that played out while our television was tuned into The Three Stooges. She was convinced those shows would inspire my siblings and me to poke each others eyes out in copycat crimes.

The new movie reminded me that, before the age of five, I had already figured out Larry still had eyes after Moe had "poked them out" again and again and again.


It's acting.

And it's also a blend of funny that this new movie from the Farrelly brothers proves has lasting power.

Don't make the mistake of walking out of the theater during the credits because you'll miss these wise guys in altogether new rolls.

These grapeheads rock at the tail end while accompanying Jennifer Hudson, who portrays a nun in the flick, in a delightful version of "It's a shame."

That little gem will leave you still smiling as the only intelligent imbecile left in the room with the staff sweeping up the popcorn on the floor. 

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