BOOTLEG FILES 432: “Not The Three Stooges XXX” (2012 porno parody).
LAST SEEN: You can find in the adult entertainment retail channels.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: It was recently released on DVD, but it is under a threat of a lawsuit.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Ah, there’s the rub – is this parody or pirating?
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: As previously stated, it was released – but for how long?
This week’s column takes a look at the bootlegging of intellectual property – or, in this case, the bootlegging of anti-intellectual intellectual property. Specifically, the subject rests in whether pornography can be used as parody if naked women are depicted performing fellatio on a man wearing a Moe Howard wig.
Confused? Well, let me explain. Back in April, the Farrelly Brothers unleashed their feature film based on the Three Stooges comedies. And, as you may recall, this received a great deal of attention. At the same time, another cinematic talent was quietly releasing a feature film that was also inspired by the kings of knockabout: Will Ryder, who had assembled something called “Not The Three Stooges XXX” as a straight-to-adult-DVD release.
If you never heard of Ryder, that might because you don’t watch much porn. Ryder has made a unique career helming pornographic parodies of current films and classic TV shows. To date, no one in Hollywood seemed to care very much about these clothing-free romps. However, Robert Benjamin, the co-producer of the Farrelly film and the executive vice president and general counsel of C3 Entertainment – the company that controls the branding and licensing rights to the Three Stooges – somehow got wind of the Ryder film and sent a cease and desist letter to the filmmaker’s lawyer.
“You claim on behalf of your client, Will Ryder Productions, that the low-budget, clearly pornographic, film your client intends to sell by infringing upon The Three Stooges brand is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as ‘parody,'” Benjamin wrote. “Such a claim of parody has no merit.”
Ryder’s attorney, Michael Fattorosi, responded with his own letter that pointed out that C3’s trademark only covered a beer brand featuring the trio on its label and that C3 had no legal right to cease the release of the Ryder film. Nonetheless, C3 was able to prevent the PG-level trailer of the Ryder film from being posted on YouTube.
As luck would have it, the gossipy goofballs at TMZ got wind of this volley, and the resulting media coverage ensured that the under-the-radar porn DVD sold out its initial replication run. If C3 wanted to put the lid on the Ryder film, it wound up doing the exact opposite.
But does C3 have a case? Having viewed “Not The Three Stooges XXX,” I am not certain if I could call it a parody. I can say that it is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.
This film is set in 1937 and it involves three guys with odd haircuts and a penchant for hitting each other. In this case, Moe, Larry and Curly find themselves in distress when their girlfriends give them an ultimatum: get steady jobs or they can no longer have sex. (Pity that C3 doesn’t represent the Aristophanes estate, or else the company could have charged Ryder with ripping off “Lysistrata”!)
Eager to get back into their girlfriends’ good graces (not to mention their good places), the trio searches the classified advertisements for work. They apply for jobs as stylists in a hair salon, as instructors in an art school, as cobblers in a shoe factory and as plumbers fixing a leaky pipe at a swank mansion. Needless to say, the men create chaos everyplace they go – but in this XXX-rated spin, they also find time to enjoy the attention of naked ladies with full-throttle sex drives.
Although the film’s story is credited to Mark Twain (huh?), it is clear that a great deal of classic Stooges-inspired mayhem was considered for this film. The leaky pipe sequence is a tribute to “A Plumbing We Will Go” – and there is even a Dudley Dickerson-inspired domestic servant to view the tumult with wide-eyed amazement. The XXX-rated Curly has the same agitated reaction to displays of vagina that the classic Curly had to cheese, tassels and “Pop Goes the Weasel.” And the dialogue echoes vintage Stooges-talk: when Larry finds himself recruited as a nude model in an art school, Moe threatens him by saying, “Are you gonna get a boner or am I gonna murderlize ya?”
But beyond that, the fun begins to fray. Anthony Rosano plays Moe and Evan Stone plays Larry, but neither man bears any physical or vocal resemblance to the beloved originals – their ill-fitting hairpieces don’t help at all – and they go through their paces with what seems to be only a bare acknowledgment of their source material. James Bartholet looks nothing like Curly (he might pass for a younger, slender version of Joe DeRita), but at least he makes a game effort to imitate Curly’s memorable vocal and physical mannerisms.
The running joke here is that Curly never gets to have any sex – only Moe and Larry manage to get their clothing off, and it is only during the sex scenes that Rosano and Stone seem genuinely comfortable on camera. (No fake Shemps were used in this film!) To Ryder’s credit, he populates the film with a number of very pretty young ladies who graciously call attention away from the film’s shortcomings.
Oh, by the way, if you are wondering whether this film has an XXX-rated version of the Stooges’ trademark eye-poke…well, no, it doesn’t. How they could have overlooked that is beyond me.
Sadly, “Not The Three Stooges XXX” spends more time with the XXX than with the Stooges. The film has an indolent pacing, where brief bits of manic comedy are separated by seemingly endless sequences of humorless hardcore sex. It all culminates with a 10-person orgy, but that sequence is so badly staged and ineptly shot that it is impossible to watch it without hitting the fast-forward button.
And as for C3’s concerns, “Not the Three Stooges XXX” goes out of its way to remind viewers that no one connected with the official Three Stooges endeavors has endorsed this film. But the film is so far removed from the spirit and humor of the original classic two-reelers that it is impossible for anyone to accuse Ryder and his company of piracy. For all of its self-righteous indignation, C3 doesn’t have much of a case – though I hope it goes all the way to John Roberts and the Supremes, if only to create some “Disorder in the Court.” N’yuk n’yuk n’yuk, indeed!
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyright-protected material, either for crass commercial purposes or profit-free shits and giggles, is not something that the entertainment industry appreciates. On occasion, law enforcement personnel boost their arrest quotas by collaring cheery cinephiles engaged in such activities. So if you are going to copy and distribute bootleg material, a word to the wise: don’t get caught. Oddly, the purchase and ownership of bootleg DVDs is perfectly legal. Go figure!
Posted on June 15, 2012 in Bootleg Files, Features by Phil Hall
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- THE BOOTLEG FILES: “SINGLE GUN THEORY”
- THE BOOTLEG FILES: “GOLD RAIDERS”
- THE BOOTLEG FILES: “THE NEW THREE STOOGES”
- HEY MOE! HEY LARRY! LON DAVIS MEETS THE THREE STOOGES
- KOOK’S TOUR (DVD)
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