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The Catholic League has come out to criticize the Farrelly brothers’ The Three Stooges film, which opens in theaters Friday. The organization finds particular offense in model Kate Upton’s nun bikini and also criticized Larry David’s character.
In a statement posted on the Catholic League’s website, president Bill Donohue writes that the original Stooges were nowhere near as offensive as today’s comedies. “In the 1950s, Hollywood generally avoided crude fare and was respectful of religion. Today it specializes in crudity and trashes Christianity, especially Catholicism. Enter the The Three Stooges. This movie is not just another remake: it is a cultural marker of sociological significance, and what it says about the way we’ve changed is not encouraging.”
Donohue later writes that the new film does have the slapstick, “groans, pokes, thumps, and the like,” but the original shorts “never mocked nuns or showed infants urinating in the face of the Stooges. The film does.”
He takes particular offense to the story line, which features the Stooges raising money for their orphanage, which is run by nuns. Donohue lists Upton’s bikini and David’s character as the main offenders. David’s character is Sister Mary-Mengele who is named after Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.
Donohue also attacks David’s comments on Conan, where he promoted the film. On the show, he told Conan O’Brien, "You know, the outfits might have something to do with that. Forget about the fact that they never have sex. If you gave me a choice of no sex or having to wear that outfit the rest of my life, I would definitely take the no sex.... No wonder they're so crazy.” Donohue points to this as another insult to the Catholic faith in the Seinfeld co-creator’s career.
Ace Show Biz reports that 20th Century Fox, which produced the film, did release a response. The studio called the film a “broad, slapstick comedy. As the Stooges have proved over time, laughter is a universal medicine. The nuns that Mr. Donohue alludes to, are in fact, caring, heroic characters in the movie, albeit within the framework of a very broad comedy."
Donohue has not issued another response, but the Catholic League announced on its site that he will appear on Inside Edition on Friday.