"The Three Stooges," a new comedy based on the vaudeville trio, has been a passion project for brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly ("There's Something About Mary," "Dumb & Dumber") for years.
Reviewers of the film, which opened Friday, tend to fall into three camps: those who find it lighthearted and funny enough to appeal to Stooges fans and newcomers alike, those who find it harmless but mostly unnecessary except for aficionados, and those who find it a complete waste of time.
Among the first group is L.A. Times film critic Betsy Sharkey, who says "it's almost impossible not to be won over by the eye-poking, head-slapping, nose-twisting shenanigans that pepper nearly every scene." The film isn't ironic or winking, just silly, and it "simply requires that cynicism be temporarily shelved and the thinking side of the brain shut down." The Farrellys, Sharkey says, are "a good fit" for the material, and two of the three lead actors — Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, "the film's anchor," and Will Sasso as Curly — perform admirably. Sean Hayes is less successful as Larry, but the film remains "a very amusing escape."