From the release of its first trailer, it was clear the Farrelly Brothers’ “The Three Stooges” was going to divide critics. As an unapologetically silly movie with a “Jersey Shore” cast cameo, how could it not?
If you’ve been waiting to reserve judgment until the reviews arrived, prepare to be confused. As expected, many critics panned it, including Sean O’Connell writing for The Washington Post:
The imbecilic “Stooges” still manages to pummel you into submission with 92 minutes of relentless stupidity. Even by Stooges standards, it’s overly juvenile and totally dumb. What I didn’t expect was for it to be so dated and out of touch with what modern audiences find funny. “You haven’t changed a bit,” one character tells the Three Stooges. Maybe they should have, though. Just a little.
But not every critic felt this way. Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A- score. The New York Times gave it a “Critics Pick.”
What’s more, some know their positive review is unexpected or even unwelcome. HitFlix’s Drew McWeeny noted, “I’m not supposed to say anything nice about this film. That’s the message that has been sent loud and clear ever since the first trailer for the movie arrived online.”
Read a sampling of the critics who advise you to see “Stooges” this weekend below.
Manohla Dargis for The New York Times: “Much of the pleasure in ‘The Three Stooges’ comes from watching and hearing (the boings and thumps are terrific) grown men smack each other silly in Rube Goldberg-like formations and without suffering so much as a single black eye, enduring psychological damage or, as bad, being forced to change.”
Claudia Puig for USA Today: “Pop culture references intermingle with the loopy trio’s iconic foolishness, and the result is a movie with some big laughs, plenty of heart and terrible coifs.”
Peter Debruge for Variety: “Co-directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly tone down the abuse without compromising the numbskulls’ unique style of physical comedy, making for an unexpectedly pleasant yet unapologetically lowbrow outing true to the spirit that has made the trio such an enduring comedy fixture since its bigscreen debut in 1930.”
Drew McWeeny for Hitflix: “I think it's an admirable effort, and the one thing that is very clear is that the guys playing the Stooges, much like the guys behind the camera, have a genuine love of the real Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard, and what they've done here is in no danger of replacing or destroying their work. Instead, it almost canonizes a form of humor that no one else is making these days, in a way that is very direct and even charming.”
Todd McCarthy for the Hollywood Reporter: “The boinks, pokes, slaps, nyuk-nyuks and nyaaahhhs mostly sound right and hit their marks in ‘The Three Stooges,’ the Farrelly Brothers’ funny, good-hearted resuscitation of Hollywood’s beloved lowbrow lunkheads.”