Opening this weekend we have two sort of throwback films. First we have the Farrelly brothers’ The Three Stooges based on the classic television show and second we have Goon, an old school homage to the legendary Slapshot. The Farrelly brothers film is opening nationwide while the hockey film is opening in limited release in the US (2 theaters in Boston), but it is also available for rental purchases on your cable provider’s On Demand and other outlets like Amazon Instant Rental.
What The Three Stooges is about: Left on a nun’s doorstep, Larry, Curly and Moe grow up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuking and woo-woo-wooing their way to uncharted levels of knuckleheaded misadventure. Out to save their childhood home, only The Three Stooges could become embroiled in an oddball murder plot…while also stumbling into starring in a phenomenally successful TV reality show.
I will admit when the first trailers for the film hit, I was a little suspect about the movie. The movie had been in talks for years with many different names attached or rumored to be in it, names like Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro. What we got was Mad TV’s Will Sasso as Curly, Will and Grace’s Sean Hayes as Larry and Chris Diamantopoulos, a veteran TV actor, as Moe. Not exactly household names, but I am a Farrelly brothers fan, always liked the original Stooges (although not a diehard fan) and I really like some of the supporting cast.
All that being said, overall I enjoyed the film. I found myself laughing more than I expected and the style of the film really worked for me. Peter and Bobby Farrelly cut the film into three “episodes” using old Stooges styled credits and images. Fans of the original Stooges will definitely appreciate the nostalgic feel and all three leads really seemed to bring something new to the characters yet at the same time kept them as we remember them. Jokes about Larry’s hair seem retro yet still have a freshness to them. There is a fine line between appeasing old fans and creating a new style for a new generation, but I think the Farrelly’s walked the line very well. You could hear older fans laughing at old fashioned hijinks and at the same time, the film is family friendly enough for a younger audience to get into the new Stooges. Depending on how it does at the box office, I think the film’s style lends itself to at least a sequel if not a series of films.
The leads of the film are of course what you’re watching for and all did their jobs properly. They fill the roles quite well even though we all know they aren’t the classic Stooges. All three should come back if there is a sequel. But the supporting cast was equally impressive. Craig Bierko’s facial expressions simply make me laugh and his mustache in this is glorious. Stephen Collins has the good guy/bad guy routine mastered and Sofia Vergara could make anyone want to kill for her. Jane Lynch is solid as ever and Larry David, well I’m not gonna spoil anything about his character for you.
The film of course has its flaws. How none of the nuns age in 25 years is beyond me. I could have used a few less pop culture references and I really can’t get behind anything associated with the Jersey Shore. But for those fans out there that grew up watching the original, The Three Stooges is worth watching. I laughed more than I thought I would and would watch a sequel.
As for Goon: Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is in a rut. A sweet natured guy with a knack for knocking heads, he’s a source of embarrassment for his doctor father (Eugene Levy), and looking for a way out of his thuggish bouncer job at a local Boston bar. When he cleans the clock of a tough hockey player that attacks his trash-talking best friend (Jay Baruchel) at a minor league game, he’s offered a contract from the local club owner and a shot at the kind of success enjoyed by his hero—a feared veteran hockey enforcer named Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber). Armed with zero hockey ability, but uncanny fighting skills, he finds himself rising to prominence in the league, reversing the fortunes of his loser team and leading to an inevitable face off with Ross “The Boss” himself. Directed by Michael Dowse and written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad), Goon is a whip smart, bone-crunchingly violent, drop-dead hilarious sports comedy reminiscent of the classic Slapshot.
I love hockey. I started skating at age 3 and have been to hundreds of games at every level including the minor leagues. So of course I totally dug Goon. The movie is based on a true story about a guy who is now a cop in Massachusetts and it’s about the best part of the sport: fighting. Seann William Scott plays the “goon” perfectly. He’s quiet, not so smart, but has hands like stone (great for fighting, not so great for shooting). The film is for hockey fans that truly love the game and its old school style of play.
You can tell Jay Baruchel is a hockey diehard. The film that he wrote is pure hockey. From the different ways European, Canadian and American players play to the range of accents on one team, Baruchel and Goldberg clearly know their hockey. If you follow Jay on Twitter, he constantly talks about the sport and always has scoring updates (even if he is a Montreal Canadians fan).
I’ve always been a Seann William Scott fan and Doug is another perfect character for him. When he’s playing the lovable goofball, Scott always shines and he’s no different here. You find yourself rooting for Doug whether it’s on the ice or off with his love interest played by Alison Pill. Scott and Baruchel have great chemistry, but Scott also goes toe to toe with Eugene Levy and Liev Schreiber quite well. His scenes with Schreiber (the veteran tough guy) are hysterical and they literally tell you that these two enforcers must fight each other. Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates, as Doug’s coach, also has some great interactions with him.
If you’re a 16 to 40 year old guy who likes hockey or fighting in general, definitely try to find Goon. I enjoyed all the blood, sweat, and tears. Is it as classic as Slapshot, the film it will automatically be compared to? No, but a younger audience (the film’s target audience) might not have even seen the Paul Newman movie. Most hockey movies are usually good and Goon doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been looking forward to it for a few months now and the film lived up to expectations. Baruchel plays a great Masshole and Scott is the perfect goon, if it’s not in your local theater, rent it.
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