By G. Michael Dobbs
A controversial film, a pleasant animated comedy and a truly terrible piece of crap are featured in this week's DVD review column.
The Three Stooges
Like many Stooge fans I was very uncertain whether or not I should spend the cost of a movie ticket to go see this homage/rebooting of the venerable slapstick trio. After all, I couldn't see someone "being" Buster Keaton's or Charlie Chaplin's on-screen character in a new movie, so why the Stooges?
Fanboys hadn't been so divided about a movie since Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman.
Now that the film is on DVD, I'm willing to risk the time and reduced cost of admission to see it and I have to say that I enjoyed myself thoroughly with this love letter to Moe, Larry and Curly.
Rated PG, the film has just three gags that are more attuned to modern comedy conventions, with all the rest falling squarely in the Stooge's tried-and-true brand of ultra-violent slapstick.
Directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly are clearly devoted fans and they cast this film carefully with three actors who did the Stooges proud Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes as Larry and Will Sasso as Curly. Sasso had perhaps the most difficult assignment, considering how many people love Curly, and he carried it off well.
Hayes actually brings something extra to Larry and does a great reaction bit when Moe throws a live and irritated lobster down Larry's pants.
Acknowledging the beautiful Christine McIntyre, the long-time Stooge co-star who could either be a heroine or a villain the directors cast Sofia Vergara as the bad guy, something the actress seemed to enjoy.
The directors even used some of the original sound effects from the shorts and ended the film in a very appropriate Stooge manner.
Now if you don't like the original Stooges, you won't like this film, but if you're a Stooge fan, watch it.
By the way, at the end of the film is a short piece designed to keep youngster from doing things such as hitting each other over the head with a sledgehammer. I wondered if 20th Century Fox attorneys demanded this sequence to lower the studio's liability?
Pirates! Band of Misfits
Some people get all excited by a new animated release from Pixar, but I get twitchy when I learn that Aardman Studios have a new project. The people who brought audiences the adventures of Wallace and Gromit and "Chicken Run" are not only amazingly talented animators specializing in stop motion, but also are vastly clever.
"The Pirates!" may not be the studio's most laugh-out-loud film, but it provides a very enjoyable 90 minutes or so.
The story centers around The Pirate Captain, a man determined to be voted Pirate of the Year, but is so ineffective he doesn't have a chance. His men admire him, though, and stick with him when the ship's beloved pet Polly, the last dodo, is suddenly sought after by Charles Darwin who is in love with Queen Victoria!
This mixing and matching of real people and fictional characters along with pirates of the 18th century with the technology of the latter 19th century is part of the film's unique charm.
To appreciate the animation one must watch the documentary that is included on the Blu-Ray (but not on the DVD). The process is astounding.
The voice cast is headed up by Hugh Grant, who does well, and also includes Martin Freeman and David Tennant.
For a great family night, get your hands on this film.
Girls Gone Dead
The late great David Friedman, producer of dozens of exploitation films, explained in many interviews that when you make such a movie you better be prepared to at some point give audiences what they expect.
This limp dishrag of a film purports to be a clever, sexy spoof of horror films, but instead is so dreadfully inept, your finger will be on the fast forward button throughout most of the film.
What can I say about a film whose cover graphics features an actress who doesn't appear in the film? Case closed.
I don't care how desperate you are standing at the Red Box on a Saturday night eager for something new to watch. Rent this and you will be sorry.