Lol. Haven't seen Love at First Bite in a while, but I know already it's going to be a joy.
First scene: I just don't know how the Stooges can stand being roommates. That's what they seem to be here. They're decorating the main room of their house, or apartment, wherever the hell they live. They're singing "The Wedding Bells will Start to Ring..." ...holy crap! They're getting married? Good Lord. So, let me get this straight. Our gay brothers and sisters can't get married, but the Stooges can? What an upside down world we live in. Now, let me check the IMDb page of Love at First Bite... well, as it turns out, Shemp is paired up with Fifi (a 24-year difference), Moe is paired up with Christine McIntyre (a 14-year difference), and Larry is paired up with Maria. I couldn't find Marie Monteil's birthday, but trust me; she's old enough to be Larry's daughter. So basically, what's going on here is that the Stooges, like many men of their generation, met their brides to be overseas during WWII. Sorry, SPOILER ALERT. Apparently, the domestic dames knew better.
It gets worse. Larry has hung a horseshoe over the doorway. He swoons as he explains why. "Every time my little bride walks through this door, I'll give her a kiss for good luck!" Hear that, girls? There's a nightmare side to that Alicia Keys song after all! Sheesh. Nice music video, too. Apparently, some girls' boyfriends aren't damaged enough for their liking. But back to my man Larry. He moans the moan of lust (...this is a family pic, right?) and leans against the doorway. The horseshoe immediately falls down on his bald head, and Larry clutches it in pain. Moe laughs, of course... hmm! He doesn't usually do that, does he? Larry immediately gets to work putting the horseshoe back into place. Well, he's got his gimmick taken care of for this short. And now, time for Shemp's. Moe is busy cleaning up the table... surely, that isn't the dining room table? So small and provincial. Sheesh. I know poverty exists, but hopefully it looks better than that. Heavens to Betsy AND Mergatroid both. Anyway, Moe's doing some cleaning when... he runs afoul of some gum. "Gum!" he says to himself, while staring daggers at Shemp. Better get Shemp a poisoned potato! This reminds me of a sketch from Your Show of Shows that I'm having trouble finding on the YouTubes. It starts with Sid sitting in a movie theater. He then proceeds to chew about twelve pieces of gum. I think I counted them once. When suddenly, in comes angry couple Carl Reiner and Imogene Coca. Sid tries to ignore them but gets caught up in their arguing... unfortunately, we're stuck with the Stooges, so let's get back to them! Shemp starts blowing a gum bubble, but I think it's actually a balloon. Moe rushes over with his pin that he always carries and pops Shemp's bubble. "OOP!" cries Shemp. "You got gum stuck all over the place. STOP CHEWING GUM!" barks Sergeant Moe. Boy, he doesn't know the half of it! "I DON'T HAVE TO!" sneers Shemp. Moe then hits Shemp three times. And remember, Stooge fans. If you're hitting one of your fellow Stooges three times, there's two rules to follow: 1) think of it as a song you're playing, and always try to keep the beat, like Moe does here! And 2) variety. If you hit a Stooge multiple times in one session, variety is key. If you poke them in the eyes over and over in one setting, for example, it quickly grows tiresome and gives them the opportunity to block. Do the stomach-head combo, or do like Moe here in this instance and try to switch it up. The double slap to the face is my personal favourite. All the while, Shemp's holding a big paper bell. Lol. Moe finishes his physical abuse and says to Shemp "Now, throw it away!" Shemp tries to fight back, saying "Whyyyyyyyyyyyy....." (interesting noise!) but ultimately demurs to Moe's demands. A second later, we hear Larry say "HEY!" Cut to Larry who's got a spherical-shaped wad of ABC gum on his nose. It's easy enough to put these things on, but getting them off again is much tougher. Next scene: Shemp turns away from Larry and back to Moe. As you can tell, Shemp's not off the hook yet. Moe goes in for a second eye poke, but Shemp blocks. Then, the phone rings. Saved by the bell! Shemp tells Moe, "Answer the phone." Moe goes to answer the phone... then doubles back and pokes Shemp for good measure. No one tells Moe what to do. No one. Except their bosses, the police, the head of Columbia pictures, their fans... you get the idea.
Next scene: the call is from Moe's bookie. Moe places a bet on a horse. He then goes to hang up the phone and... what the H? Ah, that takes me back. These things sneak up on me sometimes. The point being, this Shemp guy's been getting crazy with the gum! Next scene: Moe's struggles with the phone gum continue. Unfortunately, Moe's a slow learner, and he ends up making noises like Curly used to. Moe eventually uses one of his lifelines, and calls to Larry "Get me a towel!" Time for Larry to run afoul of that horseshoe again, isn't it? Fortunately for us and the crew, the towel's just inside the other room, so it's a quick double header for Larry. Epic. Larry eventually gets over to Moe and starts trying to mop up the old gum. Cut to Shemp, who's busy making the new gum they'll be cleaning up later. Screenwriters, take note of that. Lol. If bubble gum existed before 1950, I just don't want to know about it. Just then, Larry marches over to Shemp. Why, Larry must be about to go Moe on Shemp's ass... nah, just a warning about what Moe's going to do. "Get busy before he murders you!" Larry tells Shemp. Didn't you just pick a spherical dab of Shemp's chewing gum off your nose? Shemp gets off easy! I guess the chandelier will have to do the punishing for now. Shemp hits his head on the chandelier, so Shemp gives it a good shove. Meanwhile, Moe's now standing near Shemp. Shemp turns to face Moe. The chandelier meets up with the back of Shemp's head, so Shemp naturally pitches forward into Moe. Moe walks backwards until he hits something.
Next scene: Hey, it's Santa Claus! ...no, wait, it's Moe with the towel back on his face. Time to sound like Curly again! Why, I remember when Lisa Simpson had similar troubles with chewing gum. Ah, those were the good old days. Shemp does a massive double take and tries to look busy. He goes over to the fruit bowl and starts polishing the fruit. Say! That fruit looks pretty good. Shemp takes a bite. Meanwhile, Larry walks in with a vase, sees Shemp and says "HEY!" He's been saying that a lot this time. Shemp's reaction to that is... you know, I'm still having trouble figuring that one out. Needles to say, these Stooge films function better with more chaos. NOW it's time for Larry to go Moe on Shemp's ass. And he goes with... the applesauce forehead! Excellent choice. Larry gets that one in Corny Casanovas. Shemp wipes his face off violently, and some of it ends up on Moe. Better find a different towel, Moe!
The physical violence continues until Shemp decides to be the better man. Shemp says, "Wait a minute." That's how it always starts, isn't it? Shemp says "This is our wedding day. We should be happy! Friendly! Not doing this, and not that!" Sorry, this is the right link. Could this be Shemp's finest hour? I think Moe thinks so; check out his reaction.... exactly. Even Moe's speechless. Is this the end of Moe's reign as we know it? Could be. Why, even Larry's getting the better of Moe.
Before Moe can tell "Porcupine" to do something, Larry sets the second Act into motion... hoh boy, here we go. It's flashback time. But credit where credit's due. Normally, this would be the part where they insert footage from previous Stooge films, but not this time! This is all new shi... footage. No skimping this time. And so, each of the boys launches into their origin story of how they met their respective dames. Time to kill some time, and a rare opportunity for me to rest my tired fingers.
First up: Larry. He was stationed in Italy. Must've been a really small town that never had an American in it before. I'm just sayin'. There was nothing for the waitress to do but stand by and watch Lawrence eat spaghetti like a Philistine... ooh! What does she say? What does she say? According to Babelfish, she says "Sean Hayes? Really? I thought for sure they'd go with Tobey Maguire." Seriously, though, I wonder if the DVD made any attempt in the closed captioning. They probably just went with "[speaking foreign language]" or something generic like that. Now, to cut to the chase, Larry wins over his sweetheart, even after lightly slapping her in the face. Memo to guys in the modern age: if Larry's better looking than you, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.
Up next: Moe. He was similarly stationed, but in Vienna. Even so, he seems to hook up with a German chick. Or maybe she's Swedish. In any event, it's Christine McIntyre, doing more accent work. She's been a Scottish gal,... and probably others. Anyway, she lets Moe into the house and tries to shoo away a fly. There's a giant crash. She opens the door to find Moe on the floor with a bucket on his head, sitting in the middle of a tiny thin lake of soapy water. She waits for the audience to laugh, then runs to Moe's side. Incidentally, that is a good strategy, guys. Hurt yourself on the first date, so the girl's maternal instincts kick in. If they don't, DUMP HER!!! Dump her while you still have the chance to get away.
Anyway, we already know by now that Christine McIntyre's an honorary Stooge in her own right. For some of you out there who still don't think so, she does the bit where she tries to get the bucket off of Moe's head, but the bucket handle gets in the way, and hits him on the chin. NOW are you satisfied? Moe slips around a bit on the soapy water but he doesn't make a big thing out of it. McIntyre dries off Moe's hand and notices the ring on Moe's finger. Apparently it's not a wedding ring. If it is, Moe's not displaying a heck of a lot of fidelity at the moment. He takes the ring off to show to McIntyre and... gee, didn't see that coming! Gee, didn't see that coming either. McIntyre helps herself to the ring; partly to pay off the damage to the ancient vase, and partly because she's in love with Mr. Army Man. Well, the Stooges are hopeless romantics, and only in a Stooge film could they get such photogenic babes. Moe kisses McIntyre's hand and he swoons like Curly. McIntyre seems to swoon a bit herself. Lucky girl. Moe goes in for a mouth kiss, but McIntyre gets Moe to wait. So, they dance instead, heading right into the choppy, soapy waters that Moe struggled to get out of. Apparently, it is in this kiln of slipped discs that Moe and McIntyre will forge their passion for each other. Looks like Moe really took a fall here; I hope they had him on wires or something. A stunt double for McIntyre, I'm thinking, especially because you can't see her face. You can see Moe's missing a tooth here on his right side. Good Lourdes!
Now that Moe's slapped both the boys a second time, it's time now for Shemp's story. He was in Paris to see the Paris sites. Lol. I still love a bad pun. And look! They used an outdoor set on the Columbia lot for Shemp's story. He's in front of the Cafe La Mer-Essen. Now, for all you linguists out there, you might get a chuckle out of that. After all, "essen" in German is "eat" and "mer" in French is... anyway, Shemp picks up a pretty lady's handkerchief. No time for the funny business now, romance is a deadly serious game! He then proceeds to get his girl drunk... not that he has to, mind you. When suddenly, comedy enters the foray, in the form of a dog under their table. The dog's tail is thumping against Shemp's ankle and... well, needles to say, I think Shemp thinks the girl's doing that. Can't argue with results, right? And yet, some people think they need powdered rhino's horn. Suddenly, the dog starts licking the girl's ankle. How on Earth is she going to react to that? Hopefully, she'll slap Shemp... Priceless. Makes me wish I understood French better. Of course, Shemp gets by the language barrier by ignoring it. Just then... thunder and rain start breaking out. Shemp steals a giant umbrella for the two of them, and they walk away into romance. You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say that was the shortest one! But I am an amateur mathematician, and I can figure this one out... as it turns out, Larry's was the shortest at 1:07, Shemp second place at 1:22, and Moe's is the longest at 2:07! Dang. I guess when you both can speak English, there's more plot complexity possible. Something like that. And so, as all married men or soon-to-be married men do, the Stooges proceed to get properly pissed. However, I have the feeling they're going to overdo it...
Moe hits Shemp in the chin when he uncorks the bottle, of course. What a jerk. After Moe fills three glasses, spilling about half the bottle in the process, Moe sets down the bottle on the table so we have time to read the joke on the label. Larry adds some seltzer to the three drinks, and then it's down the hatch. Three gulping sounds! Epic. And then... three sounds of... whatever you call the post-drink reaction. No, it's not Cuckoo on a Choo-Choo. That's a ways off yet. Oh, Lord knows it's gone by many names throughout the years, but the boys have a bad reaction to their drinks. Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol, you might say. Then, they fall backwards. Not their stunt doubles, either! That's Jules White for you: a real taskmaster. These fifty year old men are working harder than they should.
And then... as with Laurel and Hardy's classic Scram, instant drunkenness sets in. Time to kill some time. Also, time to see who's worst at acting drunk. Well, sometimes you just can't get Arthur Housman.
Well, maybe it won't be so bad. Time for a drunken seltzer fight! Shemp hits himself in the face first. Next, Shemp hits Moe. Twice! Shemp's next, though. And then, Larry's big part, where he exemplifies the meaning of the phrase "collateral damage." But it's all for a reason. Shemp's bottle is empty, so Moe backs him into a corner, with his seltzer bottle still quite full. He starts waterboarding... I mean, filling Shemp's mouth until seltzer's coming out of his ears. Oh sure, it looks funny to you and me, and because of several injuries that Shemp sustained in Vaudeville, they didn't actually need to do any special rigging to get the seltzer to come out of his ears. When in fact... when in fact, it's not always so funny. And in this case, Shemp emerges from the seltzer episode a broken man. He is a man after all, and not a semi-permeable membrane. Do membranes have feelings? I highly doubt it. And so, believing that he's dying, Shemp collapses in a heap on the floor yet again.
"I killed him... I KILLED MY BEST PAL!" cries Moe. Lol. Somebody get that man an Oscar. And so, in their drunken state, Moe and Larry agree that they have to get rid of the body. "Let's cremate him!" suggests Moe. Larry points out that they have no cream. But they do have cement! They agree on a plan: they'll give Shemp the ol' cement foot bath and dump him in the river. They go to shake hands and... Moe and Larry fall down AGAIN! Talk about your brittle boneheads! Sheesh!
Next scene: the stirring of the cement begins in proper. Boy! These Stooges are more resourceful when they're drunk! How's that? After Larry's done stirring, Moe says "Let's put the corpse's feet in it." Moe's clearly at the acceptance stage of grief. Larry suggests that they take a nap until the cement dries, and they wander off camera like two drunken zombies. Lol. Do zombies get drunk? They often walk like it, that's for sure. Of course, they run now. Wotta game changer. Fade to black. The Stooges haven't done that in a while!
Fade in to hangover time. Moe and Larry are sleeping standing up, of course. Normally, a fine visual gag, but they didn't try hard enough to conceal it. They "turn over" in their sleep and... THEY FALL DOWN AGAIN! They must've been all bruised to hell like old bananas on this one. G.M. Chrysler! They start bitch-slapping each other for a while, and then... finally! Vindication. "Oh, my head!" moans Larry. I guess Moe can hold his liquor the best of the three of them. Go figure.
Moe eventually looks at his watch, and he actually says "Suffering catfish! We're late!" They run over to wake Shemp up. They're clearly not in Fugitive Mode as they were earlier, and they've conveniently forgotten what's in Shemp's foot bath. Shemp tries twice to tell Moe and Larry that he's having a little trouble moving his feet, but Moe and Larry keep heading for the door and doubling back. Sounds like a Red Alert to me, wouldn't you agree? Frustrated, Moe just up and punches Shemp right in the kisser. And so... now it's really time to kill some time. Shemp turns into a human.... what would you call it? A punching bag, but not hanging from the ceiling. Stalagmite! That's it. But I do like how Moe hits Shemp, then instantly turns to Larry and says "How do you like this guy?"
Poor Shemp. He's a victim of his own gravity. And so, having punched Shemp twice, Moe changes tactics and punches Shemp so that Shemp spins instead of rocking back and forth. Shemp inadvertently decks both Larry and Moe a couple times as he spins... or maybe it wasn't an accident at all? They sound like chipmunks during this passage. Lol. One more back and forth, and Moe's finally learned his lesson. Shemp seems to be flying high in the sky, but without joy. "Don't, fellas. Don't!" he says. Maybe they dubbed that in later. Moe pokes at Shemp's foot bath like the gorilla men touching the monolith. He then has to pick up the bag next to Shemp's foot bath that says "cement" on it, and he says "Cement!" See, he's kinda stupid, you see.
Oh, it gets worse. Seeing as how there's only one minute and twelve seconds left, not counting the end title card, we need a quick and dirty solution. "Go get that booby trap! We'll BLAST!" says Moe. Larry obliges, of course, like the lap dog he is. Shemp asks Moe "Will it hurt?" Moe says "You won't feel a thing!" Welp, they screwed that up again! And so, Larry comes back with a cluster of dynamite sticks because, you know, they're the Stooges. Dynamite in the garage, bottles of gasoline in the pantry, you know the drill. And so, the dynamite is placed at Shemp's feet, and it is ignited. All that's left now is for the boys to realize the insanity of it all, and try in vain to escape... oh wait, this is not that film. Boy! They must have a really really high ceiling. Note how long it takes for a bunch of rubble to fall from the ceiling after the explosion!
Next scene: the girls wonder where their sweethearts are. McIntyre has to verbalize it, seeing as how she's the only English speaker of the trio. And then... the Stooges come screaming through the atmosphere, accompanied by a terrible whistling noise. And yes, this is a bad omen. A black cloud hangs over their married life. And similar to the ending of Evil Dead II, down come the Stooges, Shemp's footbath and all. Boy, those were the days when cement was cement. Your grandfather's cement could survive not only a dynamite blast, but a fall from a terrific height!
Next scene: Moe and Larry have to pick themselves up off yet another hard surface, while Shemp's gently rocking back and forth. Lol. And so, having recuperated from the explosion and fall from the sky, the Stooges see their respective betrothed and call out their names. The girls do the same. Next scene: they run to each others' respective arms, but Shemp's gal is a bit too energetic. Off the pier they go! I thought I remembered that correctly! The other four look down at the screaming below them, and get splashed with water. No wonder McIntyre didn't like Jules White. Edward Bernds would never have her do that! But the more urgent question is... is this indeed the end of Shemp as we know it? Has he just seconds before his lungs turn to sponges? Find out next week when we review Self-Made Maids.
Good double bill with: Rabbit Every Monday ...at least, for the chewing gum
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan