Growing up, I missed the whole Three Stooges thing. Either they weren't on the station in my hometown, or we hadn't bought a TV set yet, or they came to town too late for me. I'm pretty sure that at the right age, I would have loved them. No doubt many parents will want to share their formative experience with their children.
For example, at the screening I attended, Mancow Muller was there with his twin daughters, Ava Grace and Isabella Sofia, who are sweethearts.
My friend also went with her dad.
This pretty much explains why the cast of Jersey Shore was in The Three Stooges.
Directors: The Farrelly Brothers
Moe: Chris Diamantopoulos
Curly: Will Sasso
Larry: Sean Hayes
Really good at curling up in a body cast: Craig Bierko
Sofia Vergara but mean: Sofia Vergara
Calm: Jane Lynch
Not calm: Larry David
Sings: Jennifer Hudson
Will have more screen time in the Blu-ray: Kate Upton
The producer that saves the day by being smart and wonderful: Isaiah Mustafa
Looks like Peter from Peter and the Wolf: Kirby Heyborne
Dennis and Dee's dad: Stephen Collins
She was in Role Models: Carly Craig
Mayor from Groundhog Day: Brian Doyle-Murray
Then the Jersey Shore people: etc. etc.
14-34 year olds are the key audience demographic. If I movie appeals to people younger than this, studios will probably hesitate. If a movie appeals to an audience older than this, studios will probably hesitate.
The Artist won best picture. If it's such a good movie, shouldn't theaters be showing it? We have three theaters within 15 miles, and one showed it for 2 weeks in January. Another showed it for 2 weeks in February. That's it. Why? Because 14-34 year olds weren't running out to see it. Why? Because it's a movie about silent film. And most 14-34 year olds don't care about that (reflected in the low box office gross).
The Three Stooges isn't part of your average 14-34 year olds life. Why? Because the last stooges show/short film happened in the 1960s. If they're still shown on TV today, I don't know what station or what time.
So who was the audience for the stooges movie? People in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s.
And as Ebert said, many people who grew up watching the stooges probably wanted to show their children or grand children the movie. In other words, people from the 40-90 demographic would take people from the 14-34 demographic to see The Three Stooges.
The Farrelly brothers have been making movies long enough (18 years) that I'm sure they realized they needed a way to appeal to the the 14-34 year old demographic. The film's (non-Farrelly) producers, Bradley Thomas, Charles Wessler, (the brothers were also producers) were definitely looking for a way to appeal to that key demographic--that's a producer's job.
Now. The obvious thing to do is make a good movie. Who would have thought The Shawshank Redemption would become a cult favorite of college students? The 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo catered to 14-34 year olds by changing key scenes to emphasize action, using attractive actors and actresses, and having an ideal ending (that really differs from the book)--despite this lack of fidelity, the film has a 73% RT score.
The Farrelly brothers decided to hew as closely as they could to the source material (the original stooges). Does that make for the best movie? I don't think so. Does the humor of 40-60 years ago translate to today? Gee wilikers, I'm not sure about that one. But I'm going with not so much.
So to bridge that gap the Farrelly's have Sofia Vergara. "I recognize her!" There's the first "anchor" for 14-34 year olds.
But who better to appeal to the 14-34 demographic than the people the demographic made famous: the cast of Jersey Shore.
Yes, on the one hand, it is a funny idea to have Moe in the cast of Jersey Shore. But I can't help see it as a ploy. Especially because the movie treats it as the publicity stunt that it is. We don't explore the concept of Moe on the show. He's there. We see a montage. Then he runs off the show never to return. His stint on the show is treated by the movie as nothing more than a set-up to save the orphanage. Moe generates ratings, so the producer likes him and wants the stooges to have their own show.
Was Jersey Shore important in this plot development? No. It could have been any show. Or a fake show. It didn't even have to be a show. There are any number of other options. They could have been cast in a movie. They could have been cast in a stage play. They could have robbed a bank (I would have loved to have watched that). One Direction could have seen the stooges and thought they were hilarious and taken them to a show they (OD) were doing that night and had them (stooges) be an opening act and ask people to make donations.
At the end of the day, I think the inclusion of Jersey Shore was not a way to make the movie better, or maximize hilarity, it was nothing more than the easiest, simplest, stupidest way to try and make the movie relevant for 14-34 year olds.
Did I Like It:
Not so much. The stooges wreak havoc. Which I think is cool and hilarious given the proper context. But, this isn't it. These guys are awful and stupid and do terrible things to other people. And the film treats it all as good fun. Meh. Like the guy in the body cast in the hospital. He means nothing to the stooges. They stand the guy up against the room's door. When the nurse and security guards burst in, the guy falls face first. This is supposed to be funny? Then no one tries to help the guy. No one even looks at him. And he's left there. The stooges almost kill the police officer. Then they try to revive him using what they think are the paddles of a defibrillator. The paddles are actually burning hot irons. And they burn the guy's chest. Is this guy a bad guy? No. He's a security guard (maybe a cop) that's after the stooges. But the stooges have caused mayhem in a hospital. The guard is trying to protect people--because, don't forget, the stooges don't care about what they do to strangers. How can I laugh at the stooges hurting a guy who is trying to do something good?
The stooges, while they have a good mission--saving the orphanage--are horrible people that don't fit into society because they're violent, violent beings. As far as I can tell, they're the real villains of the movie. Even though the stooges save Teddy from being murdered and the other bad guys are all arrested, the stooges caused more damage and harmed more people than anyone else in the movie.
I don't know. I'm sure people will read this and think I'm taking it to serious. That the stooges are stupid and I just need to appreciate them for what they are. I would argue that there's a way to keep the stooge brand of humor and have them be less horrendous.
I did like the salmon farm bit.
What It's Good For:
-fans of The Three Stooges
-seeing a mean version of Sofia Vergara
-watching Moe poke and jab the cast of Jersey Shore
-seeing Larry David act like a woman
-something to watch with a parent or grandparent or great grandparent
-like Ebert, I didn't find it that funny
-you'll want to poke your own eyes
-I don't care so much that I'm going to stop writing
% Character / % Actor's personality
-Farrelly brothers: Dumb and Dumber; There's Something About Mary
-Stooges: see the shorts rather than the full-length movies, I'm told
-Farrelly movies I hate: Me, Myself, & Irene; Hall Pass; Shallow Hall; Osmosis Jones; Stuck on You
-Slapstick comedy: Dodgeball; Home Alone; The Naked Gun; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Happy Gilmore