Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulas, Sean Hayes

By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — Is anyone bothered by “Arthur Christmas,” who Sony Pictures claims is the son of Santa Claus? Santa can be traced back to 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore gave the world the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” He also was known as Father Christmas and Kris Kringle, and in Greek and Byzantine folklore he is referred to as Basil of Caesarea. In l996, a TV movie with music by Jerry Herman (“Hello Dolly” and “Mame”) and starring Angela Lansbury gave us a detailed and close-up look at “Mrs. Santa Claus.” In 2002, ABC Family gave us “Santa Claus, Jr.” with Nick Stabile as Kris Kringle Jr., and now we have “Arthur Christmas,” in 3D no less.

Not only did they create Arthur out of thin air, but they’ve also invented a brother named Steve and Santa’s father, Grand-Santa. The questions that beg for answers are … if Santa and Mrs. Claus are almost 200 years old, can they still have children? Does anyone with a pen have the right to make up family members for one of the greatest folklore figures the world has ever known? Judging from the disappointing box-office receipts for “Arthur Christmas,” people aren’t in a rush to update the family tree for Father Xmas!
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The cable station Antenna TV recently revived the old Three Stooges shorts. The Farrelly Brothers homage to “The Three Stooges” is being released in April by Sony Pictures, which just happens to own Antenna TV. Chris Diamantopoulas is Moe, “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes is Larry, and “Mad TV’s” Will Sasso is Curly. This film won’t be like the 2000 TV film which had Paul Ben-Victor as Moe, “Sex and the City’s” Evan Handler as Larry and “The Shield’s” Michael Chiklis as Curly. That film was about how the Stooges were taken advantage of by Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn, who produced their black-and-white short films.

This new film is about the characters in those shorts, with all the physical humor and slapstick. Added star power is provided by “Glee’s” Jane Lynch, “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara, “Dreamgirls” Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Larry David and “Jersey Shore” stars Snookie and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. In true Farrelly Brothers fashion, they’ve crafted a vehicle that has the Stooges trying to save their childhood orphanage, inadvertently stumbling onto a murder plot and starring in a reality TV show. The trailers online look very funny, but can they sustain it for a full-length film? Even the Stooges would?ve done a double take at having to work with Snookie and The Situation! Hey Snookie, “pick 2 fingers!”

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.