Second Time Around

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules
A movie for those who prefer Joe DeRita to Jacques Derrida. This pre-pre-postmodernist film is blissfully free, in its antediluvian humor, of the barrage of self-reflexiveness that has so corroded contemporary popular culture. The only irony in this film is bounced off of Curly Joe's head. Made for $1.98 and clearly aimed for kiddie matinees, this Edward Bernds-directed relic of 1962 doesn't cheat its audience with a wink and a nudge and flashes of light the way so many bigger-budgeted films do today. The Stooges do meet Hercules, there is slapstick, there is a pie fight, there's even an encounter with a Cyclops (a Siamese twin Cyclops). As a bonus there's a plot involving cause and effect: Things happen in one scene that are reflected in later scenes. Amazing. Thus do the Stooges uphold their end of the social contract. As for our stars, my favorite, Larry, is once more relegated to the background, and while the dominant Moe had mellowed some with age (with his advanced years, baggy eyes, and askew hair he could pass for Woody Allen circa now) he still barks orders at the porcupines with only slightly diminished ferocity.

-- Gregg Rickman

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules screens Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, at 11 a.m. at the Roxie, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia). Tickets are $6; call 863-1087.

 
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