Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Continued Stooge-ization of Health Care

This all seems very familiar...
Oh, right! It's Men in Black plus Ants in the Pantry... and if I could get a grant (wink wink) I'd be able to put more study on it, but let's just dive right in regardless. We see the boys in bed sleeping together... I mean, together sleeping. You can tell, because of the snoring noise. I have a feeling you're going to hear that same snoring noise over and over again the longer you delve in Stooge Land. (hint: try the beginning of An Ache in Every Stake. Compare the two, even! Have two browser windows set to YouTube.) The boys are rudely awoken by an alarm clock. Curly just never learns. He says "I'm awake but I can't get my eyes open." Guess what happens next? Curly's woes only increase, as he's "low man again" in the bid for who makes breakfast. Curly wonders aloud why the wives can't get breakfast. Yes, they're married in this one. It's probably chauvinist, but Moe says "Our wives can't get breakfast and work at the same time." Curly's breakfast: hilarious. Curly mistakes cheese for soap. Well, it was still the throes of the Great Depression, and not the kind you could take Xanax for, mainly because they didn't have it back then. They promptly go back to bed. The wives come home from the shift at Lockheed and find the boys asleep. If they knew the truth they'd probably be in bigger trouble. Larry's wife calls him a porcupine... that's Moe's job, damn it! Anyway, the usual ultimatum in these kind of two-reelers is issued: either get a job or get out. Curly's married to the fat chick who couldn't get a boyfriend in the one we just reviewed about firemen.
But they're not going out into the world completely naked. There was a lead in the paper: a job selling Brighto. Moe declares that they'll get a job even if it kills them. And this time, there's no one to say "And I hope it does!" Terribly serious. They arrive at the local Brighto headquarters. Moe announces "Well, here we are! Three of the best salesmen that ever sailed." The boss asks "Have you ever sold anything?" Larry replies "'Have we ever sold anything?'" Moe replies "'Have we ever sold anything?'" Curly asks "Have we?" Moe stomps on his foot, and rightly so. I make it a point to point this out, because you'll be seeing this comedy construct many, many times in Stooge films to come.
And so, they buy the Brighto corporate line, hook and sinker in tow. Moe chants "Brighto! Brighto! Makes old bodies new." Larry says "We'll sell a million bottles." Curly helpfully adds "Woo-woowoowoo-woop-woo-woo!" Well, it's really much better if you just see it for yourself. Ah, what an age we live in. And so, the boys proceed to destroy the Brighto brand. First, by knocking over a stand in the Brighto shop loaded with bottles of Brighto, and second, by going out into the world. After running around a lot like a bunch of idiots, they start to wonder. Just what is this Brighto crap anyway? Moe sets them straight: it's for sale! Damn right, said David Mamet.
And so, the salesmanship begins. Curly runs afoul of a Fran Liebowitz type. Moe polishes a shoe until it's got a smoldering hole in it. Larry actually gets to deliver quite a few lines, and probably the best line of his career: "If you have a knick-knack with a nick in it, you'll knock the nick out of the knick-knack with Brighto."
Anyway, Moe and Larry didn't learn their lesson and proceed to "polish" Vernon Dent's car with Brighto after he leaves. He comes back in time to see the damage, and the first thing out of his mouth is "Police!" He ends up with a pie in the face and vows that if he ever sees them again, he'll... oh, but what are the odds of that?
Back to the Brighto office for a second chance, and a second display table full of Brighto bottles to knock over. The Stooges failed with the one-on-one sales approach, so they finally get smart. Sell it in bulk! Fortunately, fate gets them to a hospital. There's an awful lot of post-dubbing in this one, I'm realizing. Must've been a tough outdoor shoot. Lots of onlooking fans screwing up the sound. Into the hospital they go to cause more delightful mayhem. They get to do the ol' "Oh! Going through traffic on a red light" bit that worked so well with Ted Healy back in the day. Needles to say, it turns rapidly into Men in Black. They end up on the intercom system. Larry does his usual bit he does: "Are you listening? Ba-ba-ba-boo, ba-ba-ba-boo..." He can't do it without Moe hitting him in the forehead, of course. The boys announce they're bringing Brighto to the patients of the hospital, and proceed to do so. They run afoul of a Rip Van Winkle type that's been asleep for 87 days. What a hospital bill! Shudder. He gets rudely awoken, and complains about it. With a voice like he's got, no wonder he wants to sleep all the time! Sounds a bit like Curly's cousin from the South. He yells "Put me to sleep!" Usually when the Stooges administer "anesthetic" Moe yells "Give." In this case, the guy used the verb 'put', so Moe yells "Put!" He's one to give the customer what they want, you gotta give him that.
Anyway, I hate to spoil it, but I have to, to point out how much of this film is dubbed. Oh, I've got an ear for it, I do. Well, Vernon Dent reappears, of course, but someone ELSE dubbed in his voice! "Vernon" yells, "Get 'em, boys!" He and his two hospital goons start to chase the Stooges some more. Curly runs the wrong way down the hall, Moe whistles, and Curly walks the right way. He usually doesn't do that when he's being chased, but never mind. To conclude, these Stooge films don't usually come full circle and end where they began, but this one does, as three Stooge doubles leap through the window INTO the room, land in bed, and proceed to cover themselves up with the bedsheet, trying in vain to hide their faces so the people won't notice it's not the real Stooges. Nice try back then, with their faces on the big-ass silver screen.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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