As you've heard, Sean Penn has dropped out of the awful-sounding Three Stooges reboot that is nevertheless feverishly anticipated, since the Farrelly Brothers are clearly not out of ideas and are actually riding high on the stupendous buzz generated from their last four comedy classics: Fever Pitch, Heartbreak Kid, Stuck on You, and Shallow Hal. So who will join Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro? So far, suggestions include: Paul Giamatti, Zach Galifianakis, Matt Damon, Larry David, Ben Stiller, Jack Nicholson, Simon Pegg, Chris Tucker, and skater Tony Hawk. Obviously, these ideas are all terrible — but not quite terrible enough, in part because none of these actors needs to take such on such a foolhardy mission. One man does: Tom Cruise.
Not Jewish, curly-haired, or funny, Tom Cruise is the right wrong man for the job. In fact, he needs this: Paramount just announced M:I 4, but the last one flopped because of Cruise’s too-serious, too-crazy, stuck-in-1986-wearing-jeans-with-white-sneakers-while-wed-to-a-girl-with-pegged-jeans image. If M:I 4 is going to be a hit, he needs to do a little more image rehab to get over the couch-jumping, Shields-bashing hump (that allegedly funny cameo in Tropic Thunder was just a start). Like Kobe Bryant, Cruise needs to prove he can be a team player and share billing with a major star whom he doesn't eventually date or marry.
At the very least, this makes as much sense as casting Benicio Del Toro as
Curly Moe: Like Tom, Larry is an insane brunet who dances and does hilarious spoofs of Nazis. And the Stooges are an excellent justification for Scientology's anti–psychiatric-drugs credo. (Just think how boring they'd be on Zyprexa.) At the very least, no matter how bad this Stooges remake is, it can't be worse than Cruise's next announced movie, Wichita, an action-comedy starring Cameron Diaz and directed by the ever-hilarious James Mangold, whose last four movies (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Identity, Kate & Leopold) were even less funny than those four by the Farrellys. What's the worst that can happen? If Tom gets poked in the eye, he already has an eye patch.