The Three Stooges – funny, legendary, beloved.
‘Little’ – small in size, cuter, sweeter.
Put them together and you get an even better package that will not only be hysterical, but also adorable! Right?
So, the news as reported by the Hollywood Reporter is that a new Stooge project is going to be filming this fall entitled ‘The Three Little Stooges’. The movie is said that it will “center on the trio of beloved characters as 12 and 13-year-olds. Liam Dow has been cast as Little Larry, Gordy De StJeor as Little Moe, and Luke Clark as Little Curly.”
There’s a lot of the usage of the word ‘little’ and somehow that doesn’t even get me ‘a little’ bit excited about this.
I really should be happy whenever there is any new Stooge project being made. Despite its resulting quality, any Stooge-related endeavor will help draw attention to the real original guys and it could help expose them to a new generation of fans. That’s always a plus and I do think the original guys would love to know that they continue attracting new fans over a century after their births and decades since they last appeared.
That’s the upside to this. The downside is that quality thing.
I am not going to retread my whole view on how fruitless I think it is to try to recast and update the characters of Moe, Larry and Curly. It’s not just those three goofy characters that have such lasting appeal, but the three performers who played them that made them so memorable. You can’t really replicate that, despite how good the impressions are. I rambled all about that when 2012’s Three Stooges movie came out.
But now we’re going the little kid route. I have no idea why the idea of making adolescent Stooges has been latched onto. I am not interested in seeing little kid interpretations of Moe, Larry and Curly. I don’t see how that’s meant to be a fresh take on them or what they can possibly offer that the adult versions weren’t able to.
In fact, other than that cheap ‘little cute’ moment when we’ll first see them in their Stooge hairstyles standing together I’m not sure if there’s any more to it. I mean, the original Stooges were grown men. They could be firemen, plumbers, detectives, constructions workers, medieval knights, the potential was endless. It’s a kick watching them act like idiots and kids seem to like watching these grown ups act like infants just fine.
‘The Three Little Stooges’ are kids. That could be much more limiting for comedic situations. Somehow I envision a story where the three have to raise money to save their school or orphanage or something. That’s usually the most reliable go-to story premise – have them try to work to earn money, get into wacky misadventures and comedy ensues.
I doubt it will be as funny seeing little kids poking each others eyes and slapping each other compared to grown men. Kids acting stupid, behaving like idiots and causing havoc all around them – don’t parents have to deal with that on a daily basis anyway?
And will they have to reel things back a bit with the premise of Little Moe bullying pals Little Larry and Little Curtly? Are they concerned with fallout from that?
Back in the day Moe Howard was on television explaining to 1960s kids how the Stooges don’t really hurt each other and it’s all pretend. He’d let them in on the Stooge tricks and how they make the pain look convincing. Kids understood that their antics were all make believe. With the 2012 movie they had a humorous disclaimer about the violence.
So, how are they going to shield themselves with the portrayal of 2017 kids hitting each other with wrenches today? Everyone is so sensitive today and ready to jump on anything, so how will three little kids starring in a ‘family film’ be received when overly-protective parents see them hitting, slapping and punching each other? The filmmakers have got to anticipate a reaction about that right?
Or will they eliminate the cartoonish violence altogether and hope the funny hair cuts, clumsy behavior and verbal jokes are enough? These are the Little Three Stooges afterall, so maybe they haven’t progressed to the nose twisting yet.
Granted this movie hasn’t even started filming yet and I’m already preparing for the worst. Ok, maybe it will be decent and a fun childlike tribute to the Stooges, similar to the cartoon or comic books. I’m pretty sure a lot of kids are already very familiar with the Stooges and are willing to watch a new version of them. And how great is that by the way!
The Stooges have been so ingrained in our culture. Those old shorts continue to play and kids still love them! I know my nephews can’t get enough of them! Whenever I have a movie night with them we always watch a Stooge short before the main movie. I explained to them that’s how people first watched these Three Stooges shorts.
So now it’s become our custom to begin the movie night with a Stooge short ‘just like they did in the old days’. And the nephews are always laughing along with Moe, Larry and Curly. The last short we watched was their 1945 classic Micro-Phonies. Afterwards my one nephew told me, “The way Curly was pretending to sing that song was the funniest thing ever!”
The Stooges comedy hasn’t aged a bit.
So kids know the original Stooges, they know the 2012 movie and maybe they’ll like ‘The Three Little Stooges’. Perhaps it’s not meant for old school fans. Between the two choices I’d prefer to watch a new Stooge movie starring adult actors doing imitations of Moe, Larry and Curly rather than seeing three kids looking cute wearing Stooge costumes. It just seems like a one-note punchline that is going to be stretched out over ninety minutes.
Actually back in the 1930’s one short was to end with this gag of Stooge little kids. That joke ended up getting cut by the way (that’s where that photo with the boys posing alongside little lookalikes comes from). The creative team behind ‘The Little Three Stooges’ better have more ideas than just that simple sight-gag to fill a whole movie with.
It’s probably going to be quite awhile before we see photos or footage from ‘The Three Little Stooges’, and regardless of my reservations about this project I’m cynically curious and will be awaiting the latest news about it.
Moe Howard on the Mike Douglas Show talking about the Stooge violence and how normal kids understand it