Monday, July 25, 2011

La Cage aux Stooge

Somewhere in France... the very idea. Stooge time again, my nine followers! And we're just in luck, because Curly's nyuk nyuk seems like it's finally starting to mature here in Wee Wee Monsieur, the next Stooge film in my cinematic death march. But it starts out pleasantly enough with the boys singing a traditional French song about lollipops. But, don't worry. The song ends with an abrupt transition back into the violent world of Stooge slapstick. I could describe it, but it just wouldn't do it justice. As usual, the boys find themselves as struggling artists in an indifferent world. Literally, this time. We've missed the part where they're running from the cops and wind up in an art school. They've already graduated and are practicing in the world: Curly the Dali-esque abstract painter, Moe the sculptor, and Larry the piano man. The boys are behind on the rent, and after they rob a street vendor from above with a fishing pole, the landlord comes a'knocking. He looks familiar, like the exasperated director in Movie Maniacs. Can someone else check on that for me, please? Needles to say, their meeting with the landlord ends with the boys fleeing their studio apartment, and running from a cop. They've already chalked up two charges of aggravated assault with watermelon shoes. Same vendor, different crime.
Act Two? The boys rip off Beau Hunks and The Flying Deuces by entering into the French Foreign Legion. To be fair, it's not because of a broken heart. In fact, I can't remember off the top of my head a single Stooge film where they get a broken heart over a dame. They're usually married and get the old one last chance, usually to find a job. But back to the instant case. Spoiler alert: we find out that Curly's last name is Van Dyke. Soon after, Act Two begins in earnest with the boys in uniform in the desert. Their assignment: guard Captain Gorgonzola. Must be an Italian fellow. Bud Jamison is their commanding officer, sans French accent. I guess he didn't have time to prepare. He can do old frontiersman accent, Vulgarian accent... go figure. Anyway, we come to the part that's padded out for time. The boys pace to and fro outside the Captain's tent. This part's padded out for time, and Curly's low man again, getting hit in the head with swiveling rifles and what not, but to be fair, in a brief instant when the boys are far from the tent facing the other way, the Captain gets kidnapped. The Stooges will face the firing squad for this... but they get one chance to save the Captain.
Act 2, part 2. The Stooges have a brilliant idea on how to get in to the evil Arab compound where the Captain's being held. No, they don't do the ol' "You know my friend Achmed! Fella what walks like this..." They pull up in a sled dressed as three Santa Clauses! Duh! The boys are in. I know, I know, but there's a long, proud tradition of Arabs being the bad guys in movies. I say why fight it? It's time to just accept it. Jack Shaheen be damned. Besides, who forced Sayed Badreya to be in Shallow Hal and Zohan? Egg-zactly... Ah, putting my Politics 101 class to work. Anyway, to rub more salt into ethnic wounds, Vernon Dent plays the chief Bad Arab who tries to extract information from the beleaguered Captain. The Stooges find an open window. Moe and Larry go in first. You'll just never guess what happens next. More stalling for time. Anyway, they did good post dubbing of Curly saying "How am I gonna get up there?" I dare say they did some ad-libbing after the window episode. They finally get into the house and stumble upon... what else? The palace harem, of course! Curly gets to say yet again "I'll take the black and tan." He says that an awful lot, and I didn't keep careful enough track of when this happens, unfortunately. Some critic I'm turning out to be. Moe and Larry run off, and we're left to follow Curly's girl troubles. He's besieged first by an ugly chick, and then by an angel with a Brooklyn accent. I guess the bloom's off the harem rose, so to speak, but hey, that's probably the way it is in your typical workaday harem. Truth in advertising. Larry runs afoul of a comedy pineapple. Curly gets blindfolded and has to catch his girl. Guess what happens.
Act Three. The Stooges run away, ending up in the harem clothing closet... whatever it's called. The Captain is invited to partake of the harem. Does comedy ensue? Duh!! The ladies perform a dance. The Stooges bump heads and fall down a lot. More celluloid padding. I guess I should mention that the boys are dressed as harem girls. They eventually knock out Vernon Dent and his black bodyguard. At least the black dude didn't have to do any bug-eyed stuff. They grab the Captain and flee the palace. But there's still some time left to kill, so they end up in the lion's den. This being the discount palace, there's just one lion. They scare off the lion at first, but the lion returns. The boys run away, and the lion walks off screen as soon as the boys have left the frame. This was before computer effects, you know. Then, we hear a bunch of commotion. Will the lion end up eating the Three Stooges and their captain? Will the lion emerge dressed as a harem girl, or as the Captain? I guess you're just going to have to see for yourself.
On second thought, this isn't one of my favorites, and probably never will be, so here's the ending: the lion walks out, towing a giant carriage with the stooges and captain riding on it. Poor lion.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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