Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Get this Henry the Eighth off my neck!"

Finally! One I've seen before. Go figure. Why, I've almost got all the major plot points memorized: the big contest, the glue on the table, the buckets of water... No, it's not A Missed Fortune, although I'm told that's, like, a total remake. It'll take about a year, but we'll get to it later on. For now, we're stuck with the classic Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb. And it just gets dumber from there, just the way we like it. And the opening credits music is still quite regal for Cannery Row.

In A Missed Fortune, Larry's an epicurean who doesn't believe in the "less is more" maxim, but here in HWD he plays a ruthless card shark, but he's become complacent in concealing his deceptive play, and his winning streak is about to end. Be careful when you cheat Moe out of a hotcake breakfast, as you're in for a pummeling accompanied by comical sound effects. You got to hand it to Larry, though, as he seems to have more aces than Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the big plot point this time is that Curly has entered a slogan contest. In A Missed Fortune, this goes the way of the dodo and is replaced by a quiz show on TV. And as would only happen in a Stooge film, Curly paints his envelope shut with maple syrup, while Moe lathers his pancakes with Stix Fast brand glue. Moe's mouth is glued shut, but he's able to get the other two into Emergency Mode to fix the situation. Larry at least springs into action and does something about it... oh, it's just too gruesome to blog about. Meanwhile, Curly, swelling with pride, manages to get his mouth glued shut as well. His rehabilitation is much more drawn out, and he ends up getting one of his teeth pulled instead. Moe makes a Curly-esque noise when he realizes what he did. To cut to the chase, Curly wins the contest, with a cash prize of $50,000. That was back when a dollar was actually worth something; needles to say, they get more than they bargained for, as do most lottery winners or, frankly, just about anyone who engages in an act of social mobility.

The boys check in to the Hotel Costa Plente, and are shown to an extra fancy suite by the greatest actor ever... to come out of Helena, Montana, James C. Morton. Well, second only to Gary Cooper and Rebecca Ferratti. The boys horse around a little bit and discover the bathtub in the bathroom. Curly and Larry apparently hadn't seen a bathtub before, but Professor Moe gives them the school of hard knocks, and learns their unlearned asses right quick. James C. Morton pointed out two expensive antiques in the boys' suite, and it's not long before they're at work destroying them.

The plot was a bit thin, so we have three gold diggers in the hotel that have discovered that the big contest winners are just a few doors down. The Hays code demanded that there be three of them. After running afoul of several bottles of champagne, the boys find themselves in a big mess of trouble, and the only weapon they have to defend themselves with are several buckets full of ice-cold water that the champagne had been cooling in. Various federal and local taxes and levies have reduced the contest money drastically, to an amount far less than would be able to pay for the damage to the bathroom... and to the two priceless antiques. James C. Morton rushes off to draft a bill. The boys do the only economically reasonable thing to do, which is fleeing the hotel, but they're stopped by Bud Jamison as the house Pinkerton. To cut to the chase, it's the three gold diggers who end up delivering the Stooges' final blow that will end the film.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just not in the mood, maybe it's the homework deadline, or maybe it's that I just can't look at myself in the mirror anymore after all these Stooge films I've been reviewing, but somehow HWD just doesn't cut the mustard anymore. Which is sad, because so much of it gets recycled in A Missed Fortune, including actual clips from the original HWD. But that's just how timeless the Stooges are.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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