The Three Stooges
First airs on ABC 4/24/00 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET).
Based on Michael Fleming’s recently published biography of The Three Stooges, entitled “From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons: The Three Stooges,” the story is told from Moe’s (Paul Ben-Victor) point of view and focuses on his relationship with his two brothers, Shemp (John Kassir) and Curly (Michael Chiklis), and long-time friend Larry Fine (Evan Handler). Re-creations of classic Stooges comedy sketches are featured in the movie.
The film covers their humble beginnings as a vaudeville act, with Moe, Larry and Shemp performing with Ted Healy (Marton Csokas), whose jealously over the trio’s impending success leads to his attempts to sabotage their careers. When Shemp decides to depart the act out of an uncontrollable psychological fear, Moe calls upon Curly and The Three Stooges are born. Their meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood movies is nothing short of amazing, filming nearly 200 shorts for Columbia Pictures. The film also depicts their off-screen struggles and disappointments.
The Three Stooges were a phenomenon. No matter how intelligent or sophisticated, I have yet to meet a man who didn’t like their slapstick. Women, well, that’s a different story. ABC is airing a very well made bio on the boys, with comic and often poignant performances from the leads. Michael Chiklis (“The Commish,” “Daddio”) as Curly stands out. He has the mannerisms, the timing, the voice, and depth. You care about this person. It is an outstanding portrayal. Once viewed, it will once again revive The Three Stooges. They ain’t highbrow, they’re just funny. And with nary a crudity or off-color joke in their film routines. Except for a few expletives, this is a clean and enlightening presentation.