Relying on the simple slapstick that characterized a variety of two-reel shorts, lasting 15-18 minutes, dating back to 1934-1946, by the manic comedic trio known as The Three Stooges, Peter and Bobby Farrelly ("Dumb & Dumber," "There's Something About Mary") have retained, revived and re-created their nostalgically amusing antics.
Simulating continuous episodes, the film is divided into three parts, each filled with mayhem. The first, "More Orphan Than Not" chronicles how short-tempered Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), savvy Larry (Sean Hayes) and dim-witted Curly (Will Sasso) were dumped in a duffle bag on the doorstep of the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage. Almost immediately, they wreak havoc, terrorizing the nuns, including beatific Sister Bernice (swimsuit model Kate Upton), singing Sister Rosemary (Jennifer Hudson), sinister Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David in drag) and their long-suffering, kind-hearted Mother Superior (Jane Lynch).
Although the nuns try desperately over the years to get them adopted, no one wants them, although the Harters (Stephen Collins, Carly Craig) come close. Later episodes find them grown and, eventually, dispatched into the outside world. Unless they can raise $830,000 in 30 days to satisfy Monsignor Ratcliffe (Brian Doyle-Murray), the bankrupt orphanage will close. As various schemes fail, the situation grows more and desperate, particularly when irascible Moe is chosen to be "Dyna-Moe," the newest cast member on TV's "Jersey Shore."
Although Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn and Jim Carrey were the Farrellys' original choices, that was not to be, even though Carrey packed on 40 pounds in anticipation of playing Curly. After they dropped out, this new cast of bungling, uninhibited bumblers was chosen - plus there are cameos by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Jennifer "JWoww" Farley, Ronnie
Ortiz-Magro, Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio and Samantha Giancola.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Three Stooges" is a frantic, foolishly funny 5, concluding in a postscript as two actors, playing the Farrelly brothers, explain how the sadomasochistic stunts, like fake eye-poking, nostril-yanking and head-slapping, were performed, advising children not to attempt to duplicate these tricks at home.