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Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 04-09-12


 
TS-013: You know that Curly (Will Sasso, left), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) on the same bike can never end well. Photo Credit: Peter Iovino. TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. The Three Stooges® name and characters are trademarks and copyrighted works of C3 Entertainment, Inc. Not for sale or duplication.

TS-013: You know that Curly (Will Sasso, left), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) on the same bike can never end well. Photo Credit: Peter Iovino. TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. The Three Stooges® name and characters are trademarks and copyrighted works of C3 Entertainment, Inc. Not for sale or duplication.

DF-15216R: The Three Stooges (Will Sasso, left, as Curly; Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe; and Sean Hayes as Larry) don’t know quite what to make of the “nunkini” worn by beautiful Sister Bernice (Kate Upton). Photo Credit: Peter Iovino. TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

DF-15216R: The Three Stooges (Will Sasso, left, as Curly; Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe; and Sean Hayes as Larry) don’t know quite what to make of the “nunkini” worn by beautiful Sister Bernice (Kate Upton). Photo Credit: Peter Iovino. TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

TS-309: Lydia (Sofia Vergara) has a difficult time dealing with the antics of The Three Stooges (Will Sasso, left, as Curly; Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe; and Sean Hayes as Larry). Photo Credit: Peter Iovino. TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. The Three Stooges® name and characters are trademarks and copyrighted works of C3 Entertainment, Inc. Not for sale or duplication.

TS-309: Lydia (Sofia Vergara) has a difficult time dealing with the antics of The Three Stooges (Will Sasso, left, as Curly; Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe; and Sean Hayes as Larry). Photo Credit: Peter Iovino. TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. The Three Stooges® name and characters are trademarks and copyrighted works of C3 Entertainment, Inc. Not for sale or duplication.

Silly “Stooges:” We don’t see much slapstick humor on the screen these days, but moviegoers have been laughing at physical comedy since the silent days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone Kops and Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp.

There’s some silly stuff on the horizon now for those looking for a few good laughs. That’s what’s in store next weekend with 20th Century Fox’s “The Three Stooges,” directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly (“There’s Something About Mary”).

“Stooges,” starring Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso as Moe, Larry and Curly Joe, is a reboot of the loony “Stooges” series of shorts released by Columbia Pictures from 1934-58. The new film’s structure as three half-hour episodes echoes the “Stooges’” origin as shorts that ran at the time with newsreels and cartoons before a feature film played. The Stooges were originally played by Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard, who were masters of eye-poking, head bonking, face-slapping and pratfalls.

With its PG rating, “Stooges” is family friendly just as the original Stooges shorts were. While that’s not exactly what we expect from the Farrelly Brothers — among their R rated comedies are “There’s Something About Mary,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Hall Pass” — it makes sense. After all, kids enjoy physical comedy and fewer of them could see “Stooges” if it were rated PG-13.

“Stooges” is tracking as a double digits first choice with 25-plus males, many of whom are probably dads looking for a movie to take their kids to see. PG films usually track best with adult women, which typically means moms bringing kids to the movies.

By the way, audiences for “Stooges” will see plenty of those eye-poking gags, including one involving a cameo appearance by “Jersey Shore’s” beloved Snooki. Only “Stooges” fans from way back will recall that when the Stooges graduated from shorts to feature length films in the early '60s they decided to give up eye-poking.

The Stooges’ “Snow White and the Three Stooges,” released by Fox in 1961, featured very little in the way of rough physical humor. That was because the group’s Columbia shorts were then being shown on TV and parents were complaining they were too violent for kids to watch.

When Joe DeRita took over as Curly Joe in the features he was concerned about the eye-poking because he thought kids might imitate the Stooges and that serious eye injuries could result. Of course, when the Stooges poke eyes on screen they’re actually sticking their fingers into eyebrows. It just looks like they’re making eyeball contact.

There’s actually a joke based on all this in 1963’s “The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze” where after an eye-poke Moe complains, “We don’t do that anymore!”

In any case, those kinder and gentler days are gone now and the Stooges’ eye-poke lives again on the screen. But, as they say, don’t try this at home.

Besides the Stooges, next weekend will also see the arrival of Open Road Films’ PG-13 sci-fi thriller “Lockout.” Directed by James Mather & Stephen St. Leger, it stars Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare.

Set in the near future, “Lockout’s” about a wrongly convicted spy who gets a shot at freedom after agreeing to rescue the president’s daughter from her outer space prison. It’s tracking best with males under and over 25.

Also opening is Lionsgate’s R rated horror thriller “The Cabin in the Woods,” directed by Drew Goddard and starring Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford and Chris Hemsworth.

It’s a story about five friends heading to the forest for an escapist weekend only to discover their cabin has a horrific secret. It’s tracking equally well with both males and females under-25.

Bottom line:April continues to look good at the boxoffice, particularly thanks to Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games,” which after three weekends in theatres has grossed nearly $303 million. “Hunger’s” also gobbled up about $157 million in international theatres, bringing its global cume to approximately $460 million.

With ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada already up about 20 percent for the year, Hollywood’s on a boxoffice roll as the summer movie season fast approaches — starting May 4 with Disney and Marvel Enterprises’ much anticipated 3D fantasy action adventure “The Avengers.”