Reel Critics: 'Stooges' shows off its slapstick roots

The Farrelly brothers are known for their offbeat comedies that challenge the limits of good taste.

"Dumb & Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary" are their familiar big hits. But their current remake of"The Three Stooges"takes them firmly into safer PG-rated territory.

I grew up in the 1950s watching many of the real Stooges' original short films. They were broadcast on mainstream TV in the late afternoon when kids got home from elementary school. They were stupid and silly but absolutely hilarious to a child's mind.

The producers wisely divide this film into three separate but connected episodes that emulate the 30-minute format of the originals.

The plot magnifies the slapstick madness that made the original Stooges famous. The eye-poking, head-rapping, face-slapping escapades are nonstop. They are juvenile and ridiculous but provide several belly laughs throughout. You will be greatly entertained if you are a fan of this brand of low-brow humor.

Otherwise, you have no business attending this show.


There will be blood at the 'Cabin'

Five college kids head out to a secluded "Cabin in the Woods," and you just know that very bad things will happen.

In this fresh take on the classic horror movie, some things never change. The cabin is decorated like out of a haunted house catalog. There are no stars in the cloudless night sky. And the woods are full of ... trees.

Right on cue, the blond nympho is the first to bite the dust while hunky boyfriend looks on haplessly. He tries to lead his friends — smart guy, nerdy pothead guy, and wide-eyed virgin — to safety. But as we all know, no place is safe when you're in a cabin in the woods.

There are other mysterious goings-on. Who are these old office guys (Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins) who bring added comedy to the mix?

"Cabin" doesn't scare as much as lull us with a familiar apprehension and knowing winks at the horror genre, and then gleefully spins it on its (decapitated) head.

Almost everything creepy imaginable (except politicians) gets thrown at us, literally, to provide shock and awe in a tremendous final bloodbath. I could reveal more of the plot, but then I'd have to kill you.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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