Connie Cezon's triumphant return as every Stooge fan's favourite multi-tasking gold digger. A little older, a little wiser... but Hell hath no fury like... well, I just hate to spoil this surprise. No, reader, you must suffer as I am suffering. God, Joe is just so annoying.
Anyway, the plot. Ah, first love! What a change it makes in a Stooge. What a magnificent secret he carries with him. The tender passion gushes out of a Stooge's heart. He loves as a bird sings, or as a rose blows from nature.... then again, this is 1957, and Moe is just turning 60, Lawrence is 55, and Joe's the young sprout at 50. Rusty Romeos is about right, and maybe even far too generous. But that's how it works in Hollywood: the girls have to be in their 20s while the comedy leads are allowed to be older. Why, even Josh Duhamel at 41 is kinda pushing it with Safe Haven. The romantic lead? Still?
Anyway, as the schoolyard taunt goes, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a coupla rugrats in a baby carriage, puking and filling diapers all the time. The Stooges, as they often find themselves, are about to get married, presumably their first. Yes, even at their age. But like Wimpy said in the 1980 Popeye movie, "Fish before matrimony!" In lieu of fish, Larry makes pancakes. As usual, the preparation of the batter goes completely wrong, and as usual, the filmmakers jump ahead to Larry taking the finished batter, and he spreads it onto a baking sheet with ... you know, one of those things for frosting a cake! What's funny about the outcome is that the finished pancakes actually do look like little strips of pancake, the way Larry was making them. Kinda like pancake pretzels or something! Lol. Either Moe ad-libs about this or it was in the script; a shout out to the proverbial collegiate Greek row.
And then, it's on to fixing the couch. Larry shoots his repeating rifle full of tacks once again, and the filmmakers took great pains to make the line of tacks look like the previous one in Corny Casanovas. Part of the problem with Joe is that he doesn't trust the audience as much, as he tends to grind the punchlines into the dirt, and the other Stooges have to react to it. Probably in his contract; wouldn't surprise me.
Now, the reused footage. At first, it looks like it's going to be a completely new film, but small bits from Corny are put in. They seem inconsequential, but that's the Hollywood film for you: an industrial product consisting of hundreds, if not thousands, of little shots of seemingly mundane tasks all strung together to give the illusion of continuous motion. You know, storytelling.
Anyway, the bits from Casanovas get more numerous. Why, they even have the bit where Moe's hair gets parted by a stray bullet! And then, in the big Third Act finale... it's practically all old footage. Genius! I wonder if Moe and Larry actually thought in advance to have the main action between them. Apparently, Shemp at first was considered a temporary replacement. Still, light years better than Besser, IMHO. Besides, they seem to miss Shemp just a little, for at one point Larry does Shemp's bit where he revs up to think about throwing a punch. Moe takes off after Larry much like Shemp would have!
To be fair to Joe, he does get hit on the head with that old potted plant on the wall. Poor Joe; he is working harder than he ever thought he would. Be that as it may, he has a hard time convincing me he's really that upset about Moe and Larry trying to take his girl, but whatever. He more than makes up for it in the finale!
The finale's a little bit different. It's still the Passion of the Larry, and it's still a volcano of soot from Larry's gullet when Moe presses his foot down on Larry's inflated belly. Here's the difference: what's-her-face is about to leave after saying "So long, suckers!" when Joe comes back. First of all: Joe's wearing a big coat. Turns out he's hiding the repeating rifle of tacks under it! Cold-blooded. Second: apparently Walter White saw this part and never forgot it. Joe gives his girl a hundred dollar bill... and he "drops" it on the ground! She bends over to pick it up and... yep, Joe shoots her in the ass with about twenty white-headed pins. Just enough to express his disapproval. "You Jezebel!" he sneers as he spanks her with the gun. You know, it wasn't so long ago that I seem to recall our anti-Saddam fervor, and part of it was an acknowledgement that we invaded partly because we were fighting cruelty to women. The sentiment is nice, of course, but there are also some guys like Joe who would probably get used to whipping a few exposed ankles now and again. All hail Joe, the most bad-ass ni... gangsta Stooge of them all! Keepin' his two-timin' and three-timin' ho's in line old school!
Original length: 16:28.05
New footage only: 11:38.07, or 29.3% new footage!
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan