- Movie Rating -

The Three Amigos (1986)

| December 12, 1986

It would be easy for me to say that ‘The Three Amigos’ goes no place fast if I believed for a moment that it intended to do anything fast. In fact, the movie is so lacadaisy that I think even the stars were checking their watches.

The movie has all the earmarks of what could have been. It stars Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short whose brilliant individual work on ‘Saturday Night Live’ is completely missed here. They play The Three Amigos; a comedy team whose recent box office receipts has caused the studio to hand them their walking papers.

Meanwhile down in Mexico a woman sees one of their movies and thinks they are the real deal. She sends a fractured telegram hiring them to save their village from banditos and being in need of work they oblige. Unfortunately they misread the cry for help and think that they are being called to do a publicity show which leads to a long (and I do mean long) series of misunderstandings until very late in the film when they begin to realize that the banditos aren’t kidding around.

Steve Martin whom I liked in some of his more critically panned films like the underrated ‘The Man With Two Brains’ seems too in on the joke. Martin Short does almost nothing and Chevy Chase gets one or two moments right and then stands to the side of the screen looking on at the moment.

Maybe the problem is that the film feels too safe. We get the feeling that Martin, Chase and Short are in on the joke and that kills the spontaneity of the comedy. The Three Amigos have a trademark gesture which ends with them thrusting their hips forward and coughing. That’s not funny because it feels rehearsed. I like it when comedians don’t play the moment for laughs. Watch Gene Wilder in ‘Young Frankenstein’ when he is trying to figure out how to work the revolving bookcase and you’ll see what I mean.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1986) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized