When we heard that the Farrelly Brothers (Kingpin, Dumb and Dumber) were going to be making a new Three Stooges movie, and that they were referring to it as "Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest," we didn't have high hopes. We figured they'd cast a few small-time comedy actors, it would be a creative failure that couldn't possibly live up to the originals, and everyone involved would try to forget it ever happened.
...Then we saw this Variety article announcing that Moe, Larry and Curly were likely going to be played by Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn and Jim Carrey, a.k.a. "two Academy Award-winning actors who rarely do comedies, and one blockbuster comedian who should have been nominated for an Academy Award on three separate occasions." (And no, we are not joking.) Suddenly, we're taking this movie a whole lot more seriously. In fact, we think the Farrelly Brothers should bring back even more of the great comedy teams of the past, and they should get equally respected, Oscar-nominated actors to play all of the roles. Here's who we're thinking for five of the big ones.
Laurel and Hardy
One needs to be skinny, and one needs to be fat, and they both need to be able to take blows to the head. We're thinking Jude Law (Best Actor nominee, Cold Mountain) as Stan Laurel, since he looks good in a derby and can cry on command, and Russell Crowe (Best Actor, Gladiator) as the portly Oliver Hardy, since he has a gruff demeanor, and can gain massive amounts of weight on command.
Crowe: "Well, this is another fine mess you've gotten me into." (Throws phone at Jude Law. Jude Law cries.)
Abbott and Costello
If we had to pick a funny-voiced, stubby-legged actor to play Lou Costello [NOT Bud Abbott -- dur! Thanks for the catch, Zelmia. - Z], we'd have to pick Seymour Philip-- sorry, Philip Seymour Hoffman. He won a Best Actor Oscar for his ridiculous voice in Capote, and he would be perfectly at home reporting on a baseball game or fleeing Frankenstein's monster. Abbott, his straight man, would need to be callous, dismissive and abusive -- traits Daniel Day-Lewis delivered when he won Best Actor for There Will Be Blood. (When looking for fine actors, the trick is to always go for the guys with more than two names.)
Hoffman: "Okay, then -- what's the name of the guy who plays third base?"
Day-Lewis: "I drink your milkshake!" (Hoffman throws up his hands in exasperation.)
The Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers have been reinvented before (see John Turturro's turn in Brain Donors), but it's time we gave them the pedigree they deserved. Put a greasepaint mustache on Ralph Fiennes (Best Actor nominee, The English Patient), and you've got Groucho. Put a hat on Javier Bardem (Best Supporting Actor, No Country for Old Men) and have him skew his accent into Italian territory, and you've got Chico. Put a wig on George Clooney (Best Actor nominee, Michael Clayton), hand him a horn and tell him to stop talking and start emoting, and you've got Harpo. Remove the remaining vestiges of personality from Adrian Brody (Best Actor, The Pianist), and you've got Zeppo. Put them all together, and you've got the Marx Brothers.
Fiennes: "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I have no idea."
Bardem: "Atsa good story, friendo. Call it." (Flips coin.)
Clooney: (Honks horn, mugs for camera.)
Martin and Lewis
One's suave; one's wacky; together, they made comedy history. While we don't know if he has the pipes to croon Dino's hits, we think Josh Brolin (Best Supporting Actor nominee, Milk) would make a handsome-as-hell Dean Martin. And for his sidekick, we'd love to see Johnny Depp (Best Actor nominee, Sweeney Todd) turn his manic jackanapery up a few notches past "Willy Wonka" and "Jack Sparrow" to play the rubber-faced Jerry Lewis. He may be a little good-looking for the role, but we think Lewis will be flattered.
Brolin: "When the moon hit your eye like a big pizza pie, that's--"
Depp: "FroyLAYvinshire!" (Editor's Note: The author has apparently never actually seen a Jerry Lewis movie.)
The Keystone Cops
Since the Cops had their heyday in the silent-picture era, we thought we'd go with an older, more distinguished batch of actors, all of whom have experience playing cops and detectives. With Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Tom Wilkinson, Tommy Lee Jones and Frank Langella on the squad, playing cops pulled out of retirement to stop a crime spree, this would be the most Oscar-winning and -nominated police force in the history of law enforcement.
Sample Dialogue: None, but plenty of gritty title cards.
What do you think of this Three Stooges craziness? Are you more intrigued now? Less intrigued? Equally disinterested?