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'Stooges' is slapstick fun

"The Three Stooges: The Movie" PG: The punches, head-bangs, eye-pokes, hair-pulls and pratfalls are all present and accounted for in this new take on the old "Three Stooges." The Farrelly Brothers, Bobby and Peter, have taken up the slapstick mantle of the "Three Stooges" films of the 1930s, '40s and '50s, and churned out a frolic that works surprisingly well. For kids -- and the film is fine for kids 10 and older -- who don't know Larry, Moe and Curly, it'll be interesting to see how they react. Even The Family Filmgoer couldn't help laughing at some of the situations. The trio are hurled onto the steps of a Catholic orphanage in a duffle bag as babies. Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David) finds them and hates them on sight. But Mother Superior (Jane Lynch) has a soft spot for them. They grow into hopelessly dumb, destructive, inseparable and unadoptable kids and then adults (Sean Hayes as Larry, Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe and Will Sasso as Curly), continuing at the orphanage as awful maintenance men. When it's learned that the place will have to close if it can't raise $830,000, the guys head out to find the cash. The cheatin' wife (Sofia Vergara) of a millionaire may be their ticket.

All the smacks, punches, hair-pulls and head-bangs are executed with true "Three Stooges" panache, and the guys always bounce right back -- though not always other characters, two of whom end up in body casts. At the very end before the closing credits, a few punches and pokes are demonstrated, to show kids they're not real. The subplot about Vergara's character cheating on her husband and plotting his murder is semi-mature but played as all-out comedy.


"Lockout" PG-13: The intense, bloody violence in "Lockout" often shoves its PG-13 rating into R territory, so this European-made sci-fi thriller about mayhem at a maximum-security prison in space is not for middle schoolers. Even some high schoolers may avert their eyes at certain junctures. None of that would matter with an age-appropriate audience, but the other problem with "Lockout" is that it is narratively incoherent. In the relatively near future, dangerous criminals from around the world are held in MS One, a prison orbiting the Earth like a space station. They are kept unconscious, in "stasis," but when the American president's daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) visits on a humanitarian mission, a prisoner (Joseph Gilgun) is awakened to be interviewed by her. He turns insanely violent, releases the other prisoners, and Emilie is taken hostage. Government agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is slated to go to MS One as a prisoner, too, having been framed for murder. Instead, he's told to rescue Emilie. She and Snow dislike each other on sight, of course, but grow fonder as the body count rises.

People are shot at point-blank range and bleed a lot. There are needles injected into eyeballs, and people frozen to death in special chambers before our eyes. The violence is ultra, but the dialogue is relatively light on profanity, though there is some, including the F-word.