Faithfulness to source material can be a double-edged sword. When the faithfulness arises not out of fear of angering a fanbase, but from the love of the filmmakers for the material, then at the very least you have something good-hearted and genuine. But faithfulness can also be a crutch and impediment to creativity. The Farrell Brothers have a difficult time in striking the balance between good-hearted humor and slavish devotion in their adaptation of The Three Stooges. They keep the eponymous characters as lovable misfits, and when they're playing to the characters' stupidity, the Farrellys have an enjoyable comedy on their hands. But when they also lean far too much on Moe slapping around his brothers and Curly's various tics, The Three Stooges becomes a movie that will only appeal to kids.
Larry (Sean Hayes), Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), and Curly (Will Sasso) have spent their entire lives at an orphanage, and caused nothing but headaches for the nuns in charge. They don't mean to make trouble. They're just unbearably clumsy and stupid. But their hearts are in the right place, and when the orphanage is in danger of closing unless it raises $830,000, the brothers go out into the world to earn the money. Their attempts to get the cash lead them to meet Lydia (Sofia Vergara) who wants the trio to kill her rich husband, but she deceives them into thinking that it's a mercy killing. Shenanigans ensue.
The movie starts particularly strong when it opens not with the adult actors, ...