When it comes to being funny, the Farrelly Brothers aren't joking. They've cast two Oscar winners, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro, (neither known for their comedic chops, at least not lately) as the immortal stooges Moe Howard and Larry Fine. They've also cast Jim Carrey as the corpulent Curley Howard. He's being expected to put on a good forty pounds for the role, a feat that's more reminiscent of Robert De Niro's transformation for the film, 'Raging Bull', than any comedy. (Fat suits and Jack Black don't count.) So why are the Farrelly brothers putting so much emphasis on the dramatic side of comedy to make a movie that resurrects the most slapstick team in history? The answer doesn't lie in the source material, but in the Farrelly brothers themselves.

While many of the Farrelly brothers movies feature toilet humor and Stooge-inspired situations, they are often set against a dramatic backdrop, such as Roy Munson's quest for redemption in 'Kingpin', or even 'Shallow Hal' which ran with a strong emotion chord in trying to avoid the static "fat joke" of its premise. But against the Farrelly brothers, the Stooges are a force to be reckoned with.

Three Stooges Movie cast: Benicio Del Toro (Moe Howard) Sean Penn (Larry Fine) Jim Carrey (Curly)

I watched a Stooge short film the other day in which the Moe, Curly, and Larry are given "gentleman lessons" in order to teach them how to be more proper. Naturally, they completely botch the training. There isn't an ounce of sentiment between them, nothing for the Farrelly brothers to attach their necessary audience commitment, other then the fact that they are endearingly trying their best. But a remarkable thing happens at the end of this short. The proper gentlemen who are enlisted to tutor the Stooges end up acting like the Stooges themselves, forgoing all the societal rules they've learned throughout their life in order to have fun for just a few moments before the closing credits.

This is largely what happens when anyone watches The Three Stooges. Deep within ourselves, we find a kinship with them that wants to run around like children, bopping one another on the head and falling down. There is no quest for redemption or emotional love story. The Stooges are as innocent as they are stupid, and the scope of that innocence can only be captured with great acting.

'Dumb and Dumber' was largely Stooge-inspired (remember Lloyd's antagonizing Moe Howard hairdo?), and we're likely to see much of the same style of humor in this upcoming film. However, get set for an epic story, likely involving lots of travel (ala 'Kingpin' and 'Dumb and Dumber') and job changes (ala the constantly unemployed Stooges). But with a breadth of scope that was absent in 'Dumber', one that forces us to consider the Stooges on their own terms, rather than laughing at the colossal force of their stupidity; a movie so funny that it turns us into Stooges ourselves. Just as the real ones did so many years ago.

Story by Eric Jones

Starpulse contributing writer