You really have to read the fine print to discover that the new Ben Stiller film, The Heartbreak Kid, was written and directed by the Farrelly brothers, who were once above-the-title characters in their own films. Certainly they were promoted heavily in such cinematic landmarks as Shallow Hal and Stuck on You, but on this one, they're pretty much out of the picture. It's almost like they're hiding the fact that this is a Farrelly brothers movie. (Elaine May, sadly enough, doesn't appear in the credits at all; I suppose Charles Grodin's audience at this point isn't large enough to make or break this film.)
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Farrelly brothers were not comedic filmmaking geniuses after I read an article about them in The New Yorker a few years back, wherein they were mulling over their long-time desire to make a Three Stooges movie, with an inspired casting wish-list including Russell Crowe as Moe and Larry David as Larry. Now, Russell Crowe is one of the greatest, most watchable actors in the world, and he does look a bit like Moe (and would no doubt be able to capture Moe's leadership abilities), but he's no comedian, and believe me, I've seen A Good Year (or at least the first 45 minutes of it), which was billed as a romantic comedy, and Russell Crowe is not funny. Larry David, on the other hand, has pretty solid comedic credentials, and he looks a bit like Larry Fine, but he is a terrible actor. He wasn't even convincing playing himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm; how's he going to handle the zany, physical comedy of Larry Fine, not to mention the sweet Jan Brady-like loss of identity inherent in the middle Stooge?
I can only imagine they were saving the role of Shemp for Hideki Matsui.