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Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Published April 12 2012

Review: Say ‘woo-woo-woo’ to ‘The Three Stooges’

‘THE THREE STOOGES’

Century 10

Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language

92 minutes

3 stars out of four


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. Even as 10-year-olds, they just say “Nyuck” and are accidents waiting to happen.

“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.

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.

The Farrellys, who have fallen off raunchy comedy’s cutting edge in recent years, manage the right tone. Sound effects amp up the laughs and an accidental poke in Vergara’s D-cup may be the raciest thing in it.

The Farrellys cleaned up their act for a kiddie audience. Not that plenty of grownups won’t get a kick out of what Moe does to “The Jersey Shore.” Because they have it coming.