The 3 Stooges is exactly what one would expect from a 3 Stooges movie. Larry, Curly and Moe beat each other up and get into a variety of moronic mishaps for about an hour and a half, featuring some fine slapstick and physical comedy. For the most part the movie works. The 3 Stooges may be low-brow, but it is undeniably funny.
The plot of 3 Stooges is thin to nearly no-existent. The stooges are orphans who are never adopted. Stealing the plot right from The Blues Brothers, the orphanage needs an obscene amount of money to keep from being shut down and the stooges set off to save it. There is only the barest of nods to plot actually holding the thing together. What is there is mostly an excuse to get the Stooges to somewhere else for the next scene. The writer(s) seemed to realize that there is no story featuring the Stooges that can be maintained for a full movie, so the film is divided into roughly 30 minute segments. While there are some weaker scenarios, like part of the Stooges trip to the hospital, there are also some great ones, like Moe accidental audition for a reality show and his antics toward the cast of Jersey Shore.
The format mostly works. Nearly every scene featuring the adult Stooges is great. It is the other part of the film where things falter. The young Stooges are quite terrible, but they don’t really have any charm either. The thin villains aren’t much fun either. But the adult Stooges are spot on, as is Larry David as Sister Mary Mengele. What is great is the attention to detail in the film. Any line that is not explicitly a joke is there for a reason. The potential adoptive father’s being a jerk is not just a one off joke, it is a clue to his real nature. When he shows up later it should no surprise that he only wants to help is they want to sue (He’s a lawyer.) Everything connects in a way that in a serious movie would be too precious, but it works here.
The 3 Stooges is more entertaining than it probably should be. It is the definition of mindless, but satisfying. It pleases my inner child to see Moe knock Larry on the head with a hammer, as does the elaborately choreographed three way fights. This movie is pure stupid fun.