Tuesday, February 08, 2011

“It’s like living with a six year old.”

I don’t know how to preface 1986’s Three Amigos! so I won’t.

The Three Amigos are Lucky Day (Steve Martin), Dusty Bottoms (Chevy Chase) and Ned Nederlander (Martin Short), three big time actors in Hollywood who get a little too big for their pay scale and get fired for demanding too much from their cranky boss (Joe Mantegna and Jon Lovitz & Phil Hartman as his henchmen). Unknown to them, a lovely woman from Santa Poco, Mexico named Carmen (Patrice Martinez) has seen one of their films and thinks they’re real gunfighters. She writes them and invites them to drive off a bandit that’s been terrorizing Santa Poco, and they comply, thinking it’s a paying gig. That soon changes when they run into the murderous El Guapo (Alfonso Arau), his sidekick Jefe (Tony Plana) and their gang.

Directed by John Landis, the movie is both solidly shot and brings a lot of sight gags to the table, both of which are very important to comedy. Of note is the fake Three Amigos movie shown at the beginning, which is shot just like an old silent short.

Written by Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels & Randy Newman. The beginning is a little slow and a few early jokes miss the mark, but when the movie gets up and running, its great. Martin, Chase and Short are all funny (as expected), but some of the funniest scenes in the movie come from El Guapo’s exchanges with Jefe.

Original music by Elmer Bernstein and “The Ballad of the Three Amigos” written by Randy Newman (who was also the voice of the Singing Bush). With that kind of pedigree, you better believe the music is excellent.

Yet another movie in the pile of films that Kes loves unabashedly. Three Amigos! makes up for what it lacks in originality (let’s face it, it owes everything to The Magnificent Seven) with bizarre, tongue-in-cheek hilarity.

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