As you may have heard, the Farrelly Brothers are producing a new Three Stooges movie. Sean Penn will play Larry, and MGM is talking to Jim Carrey about playing Curly. Benicio Del Toro might take on Moe.
Okay, let's just take a second to let that all soak in.
Ready? First, this is not a biopic like Mel Gibson (long-time Stooges fan) produced for TV in 2000. ("That Guys" Evan Handler and Paul Ben-Victor played Larry and Moe, while a pre-Shield Michael Chiklis was Curly.) This is being pitched as a Three Stooges comedy set in the modern era.
Now, the natural reaction here is to either scratch, slap, and poke your head in befuddlement or recoil in horror. Or, if you're a female, to once again raise that age-old question, why in the hell do guys like the Three Stooges so much?
But I'm not utterly repulsed by this idea. The Farrellys are a bit past their prime these days, but they were once madcap comedy masters. Dumb and Dumber; Kingpin; Something About Mary; Me, Myself & Irene–all top notch dumb, crude humor. And I even think Fever Pitch is kinda sweet.
And yes, it's easy to forget that Sean Penn was once–oh, so many, many years ago–very funny in a little film about accelerated happenings at a local secondary education institution. Mr. Carrey's resume speaks for itself, and Benicio Del Toro could be the perfect straight man, having done the "barely repressed madman" bit in films like The Usual Suspects and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. (Okay, completely un-repressed in the latter…)
So I'm willing to sort of step back and wait and see how this works out. However, I have to admit it conjures up a similar endeavor back in 1992, when the Zucker Brothers (Airplane, Naked Gun) tried to recreate the Marx Brothers magic for a new generation with a movie called Brain Donors. Like the Farrelly's Stooges reboot it was set in the present day–John Tutturo was the Groucho character.
The fact that most of you have forgotten or never heard of Brain Donors is a testimony to how well that turned out. I have a sneaking suspicion the Farrellys are also tempting the fates, only on what will be a much larger, higher-profile level.
And if it does defy the odds and actually works, well then we can start casting Shemp for the sequel.