The Three Stooges is a 2012 slapstick comedy film based on the early to mid-20th century comedy shorts of the same name. It was produced, written and directed by the Farrelly brothers and co-written by Mike Cerrone. It stars Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso.
After over a decade and casting problems, principal photography took place from May to July 2011. The film is scheduled to be released on April 13, 2012. The film is rated PG for slapstick action violence, and some rude and suggestive humor including language by the MPAA rating system.
The film is composed of three acts, which are referred to as episodes (a reference to how the original Three Stooges short films were packaged for television by Columbia Pictures).
Act / Episode 1: More Orphan Than Not
35 years in the past, the children at the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage are playing soccer with an old soda can in the front yard. But then, Sister Mary-Mengele, the meanest and strictest nun in the orphanage gets their attention by telling them to go inside and do their work. Later, infant versions of Moe, Larry, and Curly are dumped on the doorstep of the orphanage from an unknown person's car. Ever since, the trio has wreaked havoc in the place, leaving the nuns who run it utterly terrified, especially Sister Mary-Mengele, who has always hated the trio.
Ten years later, out of desperation, when a prospective couple comes to adopt, the exasperated nuns bring out the trio as being the only three available, eventually being forced to add a fourth when another boy, Teddy, enters the picture. The couple, the Harters, decides to pick Moe, but when he requests Larry and Curly to join him, he is dropped back off at the orphanage, and they choose Teddy instead. When he goes back to the orphanage, Moe lies to Larry and Curly that the reason he came back is because the Harters were going to make him do chores.
25 years later, in the present, the trio are adults, still living at the orphanage and working as maintenance men. Monsignor Ratliffe arrives to give everyone an important message. After Monsignor Ratliffe tells Mother Superior that the orphanage is going to close, she tells Sister Mary-Mengele to get the trio. As the three attempt to fix the bell on the roof, however, they accidentally injure Sister Mary-Mengele with it when she came to tell them Mother Superior needs them. They head to Mother Superior until another one of their accidents causes Monsignor Ratliffe to fall on top of the nuns. Monsignor Ratliffe gets attacked by Moe, Larry, and Curly, who think that he was getting fresh with the nuns, until Mother Superior stops them.
Mother Superior announces to everyone that the orphanage will be forced to close down at the end of the month. Monsignor Ratliffe tells the nuns they will be spread around the diocese and the children will be sent to foster homes unless they can up with $830,000 in 30 days. The trio volunteers to go out and try to raise the money somehow. Some of the nuns think that they will not be able to succeed because they don‘t know anyone their age, only nuns and kids, but Mother Superior thinks otherwise.
Act / Episode 2: The Bananas Split
A subplot involves a woman named Lydia, who wants to kill her husband so she can be with her lover, Mac, and inherit her husband's considerable fortune. She finds the trio and offers to pay them the money they need to take care of the hit job. They botch the job by letting Curly push Mac (the supposed husband) in front of a street-sweeper and leave Mac in traction in the hospital. When they try to visit Mac in the hospital to finish the job (failing to do so as Mac told them that it has been finished already), they are chased by the cops throughout the hospital and escape by jumping off the roof using a fire hose. They end up running into a now grown-up Teddy, who invites them to his anniversary party, but Moe refuses.
It turns out that Teddy is actually Lydia's husband. Their next scheme for raising the money is selling farm-raised salmonwith them scattering salmon on a golf range and watering them like produce. But the same cops from the hospital arrive at the golf course to arrest them and the trio gets chased off the golf course and they hide in an old building (getting in by using Curly as a battering ram to bust down the door). Inside, after having a slapstick fight, Larry and Curly scold Moe for rejecting Teddy's invitation and his father's earlier adoption attempt; they could have used his adoptive parents' wealth to help save the orphanage. Hurt, Moe tells them to leave, saying that he is tired of being with them. After deciding to split up, they leave the old building, with Moe left inside alone. Then it turns out that they were all on stage in front of an audition crew who select Moe to be the newest cast member of Jersey Shore as "Dyna-Moe".
Final Act / Episode 3: No Moe Mister Nice Guy
Larry and Curly are getting along well without Moe, but then they start to worry about him, and decide to return to the orphanage to find him. There, they find out a girl named Murph is very ill but has not been taken to the hospital because the orphanage has no medical insurance. Sister Mary-Mengele angrily tells them that no one will insure the orphanage due to the trio's numerous accidents and injuries over the years, and the $830,000 is needed in order to cover medical bills that accumulated over the years.
Larry and Curly later meet up with Teddy's adopted father at his office to talk about what happened with the orphanage. Teddy's father confesses that Moe wanted him to go back for his friends to adopt them, and he thought three kids would be too many to handle, so he gave Moe back and took Teddy in his place. Then Larry and Curly discover a picture of Teddy and Mr. Harter with Lydia and Mac, and realize that Teddy is the husband that Lydia wanted to murder. In addition to this, they feel guilty for rebuking Moe in not accepting the Harter's adoption and decide to go find him.
Meanwhile, Moe has been causing a lot of havoc on Jersey Shore by slapping, eye-poking and head-bopping the cast members and not putting up with their spoiled antics. The cast goes to the producer and tells him to kick Moe off of the show or they will sue him. The producer then informs them that the show is all about the ratings and not them. Larry and Curly finally go to the set of Jersey Shore to reunite with Moe and they all head to the anniversary party where they show up to thwart the murder plot, getting in as balloon men.
When they get inside, Curly gives all the balloons to a little girl and she floats up into the air. Later, they get chased by the angry Lydia and Mac after the same girl's balloons are popped and she falls onto the wedding cake, destroying it. Moe, Larry, and Curly are chased into Teddy's bedroom, finding Teddy on the bed, drowsy. Mac then draws a gun on the trio, but Mr. Harter appears and tells Mac to put his gun down. Mac then confesses that Lydia was "calling the shots", but Mr. Harter admits that he was the real mastermind and Lydia was working for him. He married into the money and was incensed to find out the money was left to Teddy and not him when Teddy's mother died years earlier.
They are taken for a ride, but the car crashes into a lake when Curly's pet rat Nippy digs into Lidia’s breasts. They all escape when Curly passes gas, and they light it with some "waterproof, strike-anywhere safety matches" that Larry had, causing enough of an explosion to blow out the windows. Once they are back on land, Mr. Harter, Lydia, and Mac are arrested, and Teddy thanks the trio for saving him. When the trio requests the $830,000 from Teddy, he declines, stating he refuses to help the same orphanage that gave him up to a father that tried to kill him.
A couple months later, the trio return to the now-condemned/abandoned orphanage. They feel bad for feeling like failures, but then they hear kids laughing, swimming and playing. When they investigate, they find out a brand new orphanage was built next door, complete with a swimming pool, a basketball court, and a tennis court. They soon learn that the money came from the Jersey Shores producers who consider this as an advance payment in relation to a new reality show, Nuns vs. Nitwits, in which the entire trio will take part in.
Murph is revealed to be perfectly fine and her illness was due to metal poisoning (with Larry saying he has always suspected there was too much iron in the water.) Then she, along with her friends, brothers Peezer and Weezer (the latter thought to have been lost forever to a foster home), will be adopted by Teddy and his new fiancée, Ling, who was Teddy's father's secretary. In the end, after causing one more incident (namely Curly accidentally knocking Sister Mary-Mengele into the pool with a folded-up diving board), the trio run away, bounce off some trampolines over the hedge and onto some mules, on which they clumsily ride away into the distance.
An epilogue consists of two actors playing Bobby and Peter Farrelly, explaining that the stunts were all done by professionals, showing the foam rubber props used in the film for the trio to hit one another, demonstrating the fake eye-poke trick (to the eyebrows), and advising children not to try any of the stunts at home.
During the end credits, a music video plays showing the Stooges and Sister Rosemary performing "It's a Shame", originally recorded byThe Spinners in 1970, interspersed with excerpts from deleted scenes and a couple of brief outtakes. Though credited to "The Spinners and The Three Stooges", Hudson's own distinctive vocals can also be heard.
- Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe Howard
- Sean Hayes as Larry Fine
- Will Sasso as Curly Howard
- Jane Lynch as Mother Superior, a nun who runs the orphanage the trio grew up in
- Larry David as Sister Mary-Mengele, a nun who runs the orphanage and is very strict at enforcing rules. Although she hates kids herself, Mary-Mengele has a personal hatred for the Stooges for the damages they done to both the orphanage and to herself over the years.
- Brian Doyle-Murray as Monsignor Ratliffe, a head catholic priest who authorizes the orphanage's shutdown
- Sofía Vergara as Lydia, Teddy's wife who wants to exploit the Stooges. She is the secondary antagonist in the movie and wants to murder him in order to gain his inheritance. Lydia hates the trio for thwarting her plans to murder Teddy. At the end of the move, she, Mr. Harter and Mac are all arrested.
- Jennifer Hudson as Sister Rosemary
- Lin Shaye as Nursery Nurse
- Stephen Collins as Mr. Harter, Teddy's adopted father, who is a lawyer that married into money, rather than love. He's the main antagonist who wants to murder his adopted son out of spite because his late wife and Teddy's deceased mother both left their inheritance to him, rather than Harter. He had originally wanted to adopt Moe, but when he insisted that he returns and adopts Larry and Curly, he returned him to the orphanage and took Teddy in his place.
- Carly Craig as Mrs. Harter, Teddy's adopted mother. Like her husband, she wanted to adopt Moe, but returned him when he insisted that they go back for Larry and Curly. Unlike her husband, she found the boys as no trouble and rather funny. When Mrs. Harter died, she left the inheritance to Teddy rather than Mr. Harter, which explains his bitterness and her mistrust to him.
- Craig Bierko as Mac, Lydia's lover and "one of the heavies trying to exploit the Stooges". He soon finds himself duped when he learns about Mr. Harter and Lydia's plans to kill not only Teddy, but the boys and himself. In the end despite being arrested, Mac is spared in exchange for testifying against both Mr. Harter and Lydia. He is the tertiary antagonist of the film.
- Kirby Heyborne as Teddy, Mr. Harter's adopted son whom his adopted mother left the inheritance in his name. A friend of the Stooges, he's grateful for them in saving his life, but doesn't want to help them save the orphanage who gave him away to a spiteful father who tried to murder him, among all the trouble it caused him. Teddy later marries Ling and adopts Murph and her brothers.
- Isaiah Mustafa as Moe's Hip Executive. He casts Moe in as the newest member of Jersey Shore. However, when the cast demands that he removes Moe right away because they're fed up with the abuse they took from him, he refuses stating that they need Moe to spice up the show because ratings for the show without him were low. He would later create a spin off series for the trio to star in called Nuns vs Nitwits.
- Dwight Howard as Himself
- Kate Upton as Sister Bernice
- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi as Herself
- Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino as Himself
- Jennifer "JWoww" Farley as Herself
- Ronnie Ortiz-Magro as Himself
- Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio as Himself
- Samantha Giancola as Herself
- Emy Coligado as Ling, Mr. Harter's assistant. She becomes Teddy's 2nd wife and along with him, she adopts Murph and her brothers. Unlike Lydia who married him for his money, Ling marries Ted out of love.
Development and Writing
Conundrum Entertainment's Bradley Thomas became attached to The Three Stooges around 2000 with Columbia Pictures. In March 2001, Warner Bros. bought the feature rights from C3 Entertainment and Peter and Bobby Farrelly became involved. They along with co-writer Mike Cerrone completed the script in mid-to-late 2002 and began shopping it. In 2004, with no talent being attached to the project, their rights expired and it was acquired by First Look Studios and C3 Entertainment. In November 2008, MGM boss Mary Parent picked up The Farrelly's Warner Bros. scripts and the rights from C3 Entertainment, and was given a budget of $40 million with a release date of November 20, 2009. In March 2009, after struggling with casting delays, the release date was pushed to 2010, but the filmmakers still did not have a cast set. In November 2010, MGM filed bankruptcy and the following month the project was taken over by 20th Century Fox in hopes to have released the film on March 14, 2011.
The Farrellys said that they were not going to do a biopic or remake, but instead new Three Stooges episodes set in the present day. The film will be divided into three segments with a stand-alone story, each being 27 minutes long. The Farrelly's aim to receive a PG (Parental Guidance) rating from the MPAA, while still incorporating physical comedy. The Farrellys have also said it would have "non-stop slapping, more in the tone of Dumb and Dumber than we've done. Our goal is 85 minutes of laughs in a film that will be very respectful of who the Stooges were. It's by far the riskiest project we've ever done, without question, but it is also the one closest to our hearts."
In March 2009, Benicio del Toro was in talks to play the lead role of Moe Howard, but then later dropped out. He was replaced by Chris Diamantopoulos in April 2011. Hank Azaria was considered for the part. Sean Penn was already set to play Larry Fine but dropped out to concentrate on his charitable efforts in Haiti. Sean Hayes was chosen to play Larry. Jim Carrey was set to play Curly Howard and gained 40 pounds for the role but ultimately dropped out because of not wanting to endanger his health gaining 60 to 70 pounds. The role went to Will Sasso. Johnny Knoxville, Andy Samberg and Shane Jacobson were all on the short list to play Moe, Larry and Curly, respectively.
In December 2010, Richard Jenkins was in talks to play Mother Superior in the film. In February 2011, Cher was considered but Jane Lynch secured the role.Larry David plays another nun in the film called Mother Mengele. Sofía Vergara was cast as Lydia. Stephen Collins was cast as Mr. Harter and Carly Craig as his wife, Mrs. Harter. The cast of Jersey Shore (Nicole Polizzi, Michael Sorrentino, Paul DelVechhio, Jennifer Farley, and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro) will have cameos in the film.
On a reported budget of $30 million, principal photography started on May 9, 2011 in downtown Atlanta, Georgia and wrapped on July 20, 2011. Scenes were shot at the Fairlie-Poplar Historic District around 5 Points Sports Building on the corner of Peachtree St., Edgewood Ave., and Decatur St. on the evening and night of May 13 and wrapped the next day. On May 26, filming took place at Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta. Other locations included Piedmont Park and Colony Square. In June production moved to Cartersville and shot scenes near Woodland High School. After the cast of the Jersey Shore arrived on July 18, 2011, they shot scenes at the Atlanta Civic Center. During the last two days of filming, scenes were shot at an Ansley Park home.
Appearance on WWE Raw
On Monday April 9, 2012 the three main cast members appeared on Wrestling show WWE Raw to promote the movie by acting in several scenes. The first was with Santino Marella, later taking to the ring with Sasso dressed as Hulk Hogan. After being booed by a somewhat perplexed crowd that gave off a negative reaction throughout the segment, Sasso received a chokeslam by Kane to close the scene.
Reviews for the film have been mixed. As of April 12, 2012, the film garnered an approximate 50% "Rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 55 out of 100 based on 19 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews" on Metacritic.
- Not once during this movie Moe calls Larry and Curly by their real names, they've always been calling Moe by his name throughout the whole movie. Moe instead refers to them by insults throughout the entire movie.
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