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Are the Farrelly Brothers’ Three Stooges Jewish?

Film critic J. Hoberman argues that in ‘The Three Stooges,’ the Farrelly Brothers deracinate a Jewish classic Read More

By / April 17, 2012
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Film critic J. Hoberman’s review of The Three Stooges includes the best sentence we have heard in a long time: “A Jew could be a shlemiel, a shlemazl, a shmo, a shmegegge, a shlepper, a shnorrer, a shtarker, a zhlub, a nudnik, a gonef, or a shmuck.” Ultimately, however, Hoberman argues that in their new film, The Three Stooges, the Farrelly brothers have “deracinated a Jewish classic.”

He explains:

As reconfigured by the Farrellys (and part of their concept from the script’s first draft), Curly, Larry, and Moe are the products of a Catholic orphanage and, to the degree that the movie has a narrative, it concerns their good-hearted, knuckle-headed, amply violent attempts to save the institution from being sold. In his recently published The New Jew in Film, Nathan Abrams ascribes specifically Jewish content to the Farrellys’ 1998 classic There’s Something About Mary in the grotesque schlemielishness of Ben Stiller zippering a bit of his scrotum. But the Farrelly Stooges are positively not Jewish—although there is a vestigial trace. The meanest nun in the orphanage, Sister Mary Mengele [sic], is played in drag by Larry David (the Farrellys’ original choice for Larry) as a de facto fourth Stooge.

Dumb, Dumberer, and Dumberest [Tablet Magazine]