25 April 2000 | Bilko-3
Not Horrible. Pretty Good, Even.
The Stooges newsgroups were ablaze with postings that blasted the movie before even seeing it.
Paul Ben-Victor did a very nice job as Moe. He was stronger in the Life sections then in the On Screen sections.
Jon Kassir was very good as Shemp.
Michael Chiklis did the best he could with the toughest job; Curly is by far the most famous and sharply defined character of the bunch. Chiklis's main failing is one he really can't help: during the "Take Off Your Hat" scene, he was attempting to look puzzled and frustrated, but his own particular eye-squint came across as angry and mean.
Evan Handler was an absolutely wonderful Larry. As written, he is the most easy-going stooge, and only slightly hen-pecked by a blonde-bombshell of a wife. (Sidenote: Larry really was the only Stooge to have a babe for a wife, on whom he allegedly cheated frequently. *Larry*?!) Handler and Annalise Phillips, who played Mabel Fine, had a wonderful, complex rapport.
And there was a nice rapport between the Stooges. The movie took the usual liberties with time and space, but for the most part it had a very good feel for the Stooges and what they went through to survive in comedy.
Two bits of major criticism:
1. Sloppy Motivation. Upon hearing of Ted Healey's death, Curly snaps, "Healy's not dead." Larry: "He's not dead?" Curly: (indicating Moe, with whom he's been having a tiff) "He's right here." Nobody, upon hearing the news that someone you knew and worked with just died violently, is going to maintain a snit (even if, according to this movie, Curly never worked with Healy, which he did in real life.)
2. Bad Routines. The movie gives the impression that the Stooges, on their own after breaking with Ted Healy, went the Martin & Lewis nightclub route, winging it with no set routine. The Stooges had a complete, set act, which was meticulously timed and rehearsed. They *had* to, or they would have killed each other.