Monday, November 07, 2016

¡Three Amigos! (1986)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

When your town is being terrorized by a man and his cronies, where would you turn for help? Would you call the police? Call some friends? Is there a section in the phone book for stuff like that? Carmen lives in a small Mexican town being terrorized by El Guapo and his men. She’s desperately in need of help, but doesn’t know where to turn. She walks into a bar and asks for help, but gets nowhere with that. It isn’t until she walks in on a movie that she knows she’ll be saved.

The move in question stars Dusty Bottoms (played by Chevy Chase), Lucky Day (played by Steve Martin) and Ned Nederlander (played by Martin Short). Carmen sees them and doesn’t realize that they’re just characters in a silent film. She thinks that they’re real heroes, so she sends a telegram. Since she can’t afford much, “put on a show of your strength” becomes “put on show,” so The Three Amigos think that they’re being summoned to star in a show.

Since they’ve just been fired by their studio, the don’t hesitate to respond. It isn’t until one of them gets shot that they realize that El Guapo is for real. Being nothing more than actors, they cower in fear and run away. When they realize what El Guapo is capable of, they decide to stay and help. It’s not like they have anything to go back to, anyway.

All three of the characters are clueless to varying degrees. For instance, they have to find a singing bush, which will allow them to find an invisible man. When they approach a singing bush, they try to ask the bush if it’s the singing bush. Chase plays as close to a straight man as the three get with Short and Martin being a little goofier. (When a woman expresses interest in the not-so-bright one, another one asks which one she’s referring to.)

I remember the movie being a lot funnier when I was a kid, but might still stand up today. There is a part of it that seems dated, but not really having to do with factual stuff. It just seems like a product of the 80’s. I think part of it is that you don’t see comedies like this any more. If the movie had been made today, it would probably have slicker effects and totally different dialogue.

I also don’t know that it has a lot of replay value. I just rented it a few days ago and I wasn’t laughing like I used to at it. There are some movies that you can watch over and over again. This just doesn’t seem to be one of them. In my case, I think it comes from remembering too much of the story. The basic outline is so simple that you can easily remember what happened next. Even having waited 15 or 20 years between viewings, I found that there was very little that I had forgotten.

I think for someone watching it for the first time, it’s going to be funny. That’s why I’d still give it three stars. But rent it. Don’t actually buy it. See if you can get it On Demand or something. 

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