The Three Stooges

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Three Stooges Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Stooge tribute amuses despite violence, some iffy stuff.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 43 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Violence (poking, hitting, etc.) is the Stooges' reaction in just about every situation, and there aren't any consequences for it -- they're never injured, and they never learn any lessons from their behavior. (A semi-comical disclaimer comes at the end of the movie, urging kids not to try these things at home.) The Stooges may be, as one character describes them, "pure of heart," but they sometimes do bad things without realizing their gravity. And their reward at the end of the movie is riches and fame, which may send the wrong message about their motivations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the Stooges perform good deeds, and though the movie does include a disclaimer about kids not trying this stuff at home, the main characters' violent and (accidentally) destructive behavior isn't something that parents would want kids emulating. That said, Moe is dedicated to staying with his friends through thick and thin, the Stooges are committed to saving the orphanage where they were raised, and the children there genuinely love them.


Guns are pulled, but not by the Stooges themselves, and no characters die. The Stooges' violence mostly happens among themselves and includes fists, pulling, poking, jabbing, and bashing with hammers, mallets, chainsaws, and other implements -- none of which results in permanent damage (often, obvious dummies are used for the more dangerous stunts). The Stooges naively accept a job to kill a sick man, and they make (comical) attempts but don't succeed. Moe also inflicts beatings on the cast of Jersey Shore. A villainous character is the victim of many attacks and accidents, and he's shown hurt, with bandages, casts, and scratches. The Stooges have a "fight" with peeing babies in one scene.


Lydia is shown in a hotel room with a man who isn't her husband. Sex isn't discussed, but it's clear that they've been up to something (the hotel is called the Filander Inn). In another scene, Lydia hoists a man over a wall; he steps on her breast, and it makes a "honking" sound. She's dressed in sexy clothes throughout; a pretty "nun" also appears in a revealing bikini. There's a quick shot of a lion's testicles as they're being hit with a projectile. Also mild innuendo in one or two scenes.


Characters tell each other to "shut up" and call each other "stupid" and "moron." One "oh my God."


The TV show Jersey Shore is shown and referenced at length after Moe becomes a cast member. There's a joke involving an Apple iPhone.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Not an issue, though a salmon is shown with an unlit cigar in its mouth.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Three Stooges is the Farrelly brothers' tribute to the famous 1930s/40s comedy team. Though the Stooges are generally good-hearted and have the best intentions, they're exceedingly violent, mainly to one another. This constant slapstick has no physical effect and no consequences for the Stooges themselves, though secondary characters do receive injuries. Also, the movie's plot has the Stooges accepting a job to murder a man for money, though they naively believe that he's dying and that the money will go to save an orphanage. Expect a few suggestive sexual situations and comical innuendo, as well as insulting language like "stupid," "moron," and "shut up." The reality show Jersey Shore is featured prominently. The Three Stooges is much tamer than the Farrellys' usual fare, and a semi-comical disclaimer at the end addresses the movie's violence and urges kids not to try it, but this is still the most juvenile brand of broad comedy.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnand25 July 16, 2019
Adult Written bydanny800 April 5, 2019

the three stooges is not for little kids

i think the three stooges is a amazing movie but its not for little kids because theirs some Adult humor like the three stooges said they played a game of poker... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byNonsensical_Reviews January 18, 2021

Iffy stuff in this nostalgic slapstick comedy.

The Three Stooges is a 2012 comedy directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly and starring Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, Sofia Vergara, Larry David, a... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMusiclovergig June 30, 2020

Funny as hell

Stupid and goofy family friendly comedy.

What's the story?

Dropped at an orphanage as babies, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes), and Curly (Will Sasso) grow up to be troublemakers. Moe nearly gets adopted, but doesn't want to go without his friends. As adults, they still work at the orphanage, constantly poking and hitting one another and causing all sorts of havoc. When the orphanage's future is threatened, the Stooges head to the big city to raise the money to save it. This involves a seedy murder/infidelity plot, of which the boys have no knowledge, but it also involves Moe landing a role on the reality show Jersey Shore. Can the Stooges get themselves out of trouble and save the kids?

Is it any good?

Written and directed by die-hard Three Stooges fans Bobby and Peter Farrelly, THE THREE STOOGES is both loving and peculiar. The cast members emulate the famous 1930s-era comedians perfectly, catching their rhythms, tones, and mannerisms with amazing accuracy. And in copying the very primal combination of wordplay and slapstick, they generate some genuine laughs.

But the movie has mixed messages. Though the Stooges are shown to be "pure of heart," they agree to murder a man for money (even though the man is said to be terminally ill and the money will go to save the orphanage). And though their violence is usually reserved for each other, sometimes other characters suffer directly or indirectly from their antics. Overall, The Three Stooges has a few misplaced scenes, such as a battle with peeing babies, but the Farrellys keep this movie more focused and less bloated than some of their other efforts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Stooges' comical hitting and violence. Is it funny? What makes it different from action-based violence? The sound effects? The lack of injuries and blood?

  • Are the Stooges role models? They're "pure of heart" and trying to save the orphanage where they were raised, but their methods are somewhat questionable. Can they be excused?

  • What is The Three Stooges trying to say? Are the Stooges rewarded for being good people? Do they learn any lessons from their actions or behavior?

  • Kids: Does watching the Stooges make you want to imitate them?


Movie details

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