Do NOT try this at home!: A review of ‘The Three Stooges’
By Sister Cynthia S.
That’s the message in a post-film appearance by the directors of the new Three Stooges movie. For a new generation of audiences, they demonstrate how the hammers used are really rubber and the signature eye poke really lands on the brow. Their advice about this slapstick violence: Do not try this at home.
The movie runs like every Stooges short I grew up watching, with standard antics and predictable jokes and plots.
Except for two things.
One is an underlying theme of friendship and loyalty that provides the rare serious moments in the film. Who would have thought that the Stooges would make choices based on their real affection for each other?
And then there are the nuns. The nuns run the orphanage that serves as the primary setting for the story. Their portrayal raises questions for me: What is it about nuns that so fascinate people? And why do movie-makers think they can so freely caricature us and that people will laugh? In this time of extra sensitivity to religious freedom, including dress, why is it okay to use nuns in habits for laughs, and old laughs at that? Please, do not try this at home.
The only nun who gets knocked around in the movie is one portrayed by a male actor. Could it be that having that be a woman would be pushing it just too far? To be fair, no authority figure in the film comes off well, typical fare for a Stooges plot. There’s a somewhat nasty non-nun nurse and some very inept policemen who take a fairly good beating all the way around. Do not try this at home either.
My guess is that most nuns would identify with the nuns in the film about as much as they would with the nuns in Sister Act. But most nuns would probably choose to do something else with their afternoon. So here’s something you can and should do at home. Find a real nun and talk with her about what she thinks and how she spends her time. Don’t settle for caricatures. Go for the real thing.