The Three Stooges is a slapstick comedy film based loosely on the early to mid-20th century shorts by the comedic trio The Three Stooges. It was produced, written and directed by the Farrelly brothers and co-written by Mike Cerrone. It stars Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso recreating the eponymous characters played by Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard. The film's story places the Stooges in a modern setting.
After over a decade and casting problems, principal photography took place from May to July 2011. The movie was released on April 13, 2012, and is rated PG in the US (for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language) by the MPAA rating system. It has been criticized by the Catholic League for anti-Catholicism in some scenes involving nuns.
Ever since Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes), and Curly (Will Sasso) were dumped on the doorstep of the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, they have wreaked havoc on the place and have left the nuns there scared. Out of desperation, when a prospective couple come to adopt, they bring out the trio as being the only three available, eventually adding a fourth when another boy, Teddy, enters the picture. The couple decide to pick Moe, but when he requests Larry and Curly join him, he’s dropped back off at the orphanage and they choose Teddy instead. 25 years later, the trio is still living there and attempting to help out, and taking care of the kids as well. When they get wind the orphanage will be shutting down unless they can come up with $830,000 in 30 days, the trio volunteers to go out and try to raise the money somehow.
A subplot involves a woman named Lydia trying to kill her husband, and offering to pay the trio the money they need to take care of the job. However, they botch the job and leave the supposed husband (actually Lydia's lover) in traction in the hospital. When they try to visit to finish the job, they’re chased throughout the hospital and escape by jumping off the roof using a fire hose. They end up running into a now grown up Teddy from the orphanage, who invites them to his anniversary party. We also find out Teddy is Lydia’s husband and is the target of her murder plot.
Their next scheme for raising the money has them selling farm raised salmon, with them scattering salmon on a golf range and watering them like produce. they’re chased off the golf course and hide somewhere, where they have a huge argument and slapstick fight, and Larry and Curly leave. After they do so, it turns out they were all on stage in front of an audition crew, who select Moe to be the newest cast member of Jersey Shore (as Dyna-Moe).
Meanwhile, Larry and Curly are getting along well without Moe, but decide to go find him, first returning to the orphanage, where they find out a girl named Murph is very sick, but has not been taken to the hospital because, as it turns out, they have no medical insurance due to the trio’s accidents and injuries over the years, and the $830K is needed in order to have it reinstated.(Google)
They finally go to the set of Jersey Shore to reunite with Moe, and they all head to the anniversary party where they appear to thwart the murder plot…only to find out Teddy’s adoptive father was the planner of it all, as he married into the money and was incensed to find out the money was left to Teddy and not him when his mother died years earlier. They’re all taken for a ride, but the car winds up in the water when Curly’s pet rat distracts them, then they all escape when Curly passes gas and they light it with “waterproof, strike anywhere matches” they had, causing enough of an explosion to blow out the windows.
Once they’re back on land, Lydia, her lover, and Teddy's adoptive dad are arrested, and Teddy thanks the trio for saving him, but when they request the $830K, he turns them down, stating he refuses to help the same orphanage that gave him up to a father that almost tried to kill him, among other things over the years.
The trio return to the now-condemned orphanage, but as they start crying for feeling like failures, they hear kids laughing and swimming and such. When they investigate, they find out a whole brand new orphanage was built next door, complete with a swimming pool and tennis court.
Turns out the money Moe made from Jersey Shore has helped pay off the $830K and, along with contributions from the cast of Jersey Shore, help to put the down payment on the new place. The executive that got Moe on Jersey Shore has also offered the entire trio a contract for a new show called “Nuns vs Nitwits”. Murph is revealed to be perfectly fine, her illness due to too much iron in the water (which Larry had always suspected yet no one listened to him), and that she, along with brothers Peezer and Weezer (the latter thought to have been lost forever to a foster home), will be adopted by Teddy and his new wife. In the end, after causing one more incident, the trio run away and bounce off trampolines out of the orphanage onto horses, where they ride off into the sunset.
A postscript consists of two young, handsome, muscular actors playing the Farrelly brothers, explaining that the stunts were all done by professionals, showing the foam rubber props used in the film for the trio to hit one another, demonstrating the fake eye-poke trick (to the temples), and advising children to not try any of the stunts at home.
As the credits roll, the trio do a cover of The Spinners' song, It's a Shame.