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Friday, 6 January 2017

Retro Review: !Three Amigos! (1986)

Cast: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Joe Mantegna, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Alfonso Arau, Tony Plana
Genre: Western Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $39 million 

Plot: The Three Amigos are a silent screen comedy act, whose act has seen better days. But when they find themselves in a small Mexican hamlet terrorised by bandits, the time has come for the Three Amigos to play their roles for real.

'Great Premise On Paper, But Execution of Comedy Should Have Been Better' 

John Landis was on a roll during the 1980s; after the success of Trading Places, The Blues Brothersas well as Coming to America. In the mid-1980s, he followed it up with spaghetti western comedy, !Three Amigos, which bared some similarities to, though not so much on the lines of Mel Brooks's Blazing Saddles.

A small village in Santa Poco are being terrorised by bandits, led by El Guapo and three soon-to-be unemployed silent film actors, who are under the alias of the Three Amigos, are hired to go to the South to get rid of El Guapo, who is a menace to the townsfolk. Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander believe it is all for show and end up fighting the villain, for real. 

Steve Martin's brand of comedy is one I am not so used to and it is very hit-& miss, but here, I found his performance as Lucky Day somewhat enjoyable, alongside Chevy Chase and Martin Short. I felt this film would have been even funnier, had it had a different set of comedic actors who are capable of eliciting laughs. Comedian- based actors who would have brought a whole lot more to this film and the sidesplitting antics and highly amusing lines,!Three Amigos! needed. 

I have one major issue with this film, and it's that the humour and comedy do not fly off and hit you in the face and that the jokes and gags aren't instant. It's not so much about its timing or pacing for me, but the punchlines that ought to have been way funnier. I'm more used to physical comedy as through the likes of Jim Carrey's and Robin Williams's comedy films and here, the !ThreeAmigos! needed more of that. It needed more slapstick comedy and better slapstick and sight gags. As a film, the pacing is slow on occasions and based on the cover, I thought this film would be a laugh-riot, but in viewing it, it's not like that at all. Which I am a tad disappointed in.

Highlights, which are a couple to name, are when the trio break into a number of my little buttercup, the cute little Mexican boy, the singing horses and few funny one-liners, such as the little boy going, ''can I have your watch when you are dead?''. As well as the pelvic thrust after shouting, ''We're the three amigos!''& placing their hands on their hips!

!Three Amigos! is a type of comedy film where it kind of help to appreciate and understand the type of humour that is in this film. Where it succeeds, is it does a good job of showing how a community can come together with the help of people from the outside world and to conquer their fears & doubts. The dramatic and action elements are better conceived than the comedy itself. There are some great ideas, but the script needed more work and better comedy to go with it. 

There were scenes where I tried to understand what was going on and some of the gags that go along with it, but most of the time, they fell flat and didn't really work. I spent most of the time watching this film with a straight face, and only 1 or 2 scenes made me grin, smile or chuckle. But nothing more to it than that. 

The !Three Amigos!' could have been as great as Airplane in spoof movies and comedy-wise, it ought to have been a lot like that film. 

The premise is good and one would expect plenty of laughs and humour that will tickle your fancy. And yet, it doesn't do enough to illicit hysterics or make you laugh your head off. This film should have done that. The laughs and the comedy are scattered and are yet virtually inconsistent throughout and it feels more like a one-joke, two- joke movie. The problem I had with the !Three Amigos! is not that it does not have low brow humour, rather it is not as highly amusing as I expected it to be. 

I love and enjoy my comedy films, and I certainly prefer them to be funny and consistently funny throughout; this one, however, sadly this is evidently not one of them. 

Although the biggest laugh I got was from Steve Martin's Lucky Day with the line: ''Not so fast, Aguapo! I'll pump you so full of lead, you'll be using your d*** for a pencil!''. Now that was a good one. 

Final Verdict:

If you are looking for a slapstick comedy full of sight gags and jokes and amusing lines, then this is not the film for you.

The !Three Amigos! is more pleasantly amusing, rather than laugh out loud, side-splitting funny and for that alone, that isn't good enough & this film is a bit of a missed opportunity by Steve Martin and co. I expected and figured this to be way funnier than it is. Though me personally, I am not a Steve Martin fan and his comedy just doesn't work for me - and this film along with many of his other efforts, besides Bowfinger are indicative of this. 

Director John Landis once complained that Galaxy Quest rips off the !Three Amigos. And yet, regardless, for me, that is the funnier film and it executed the 'fish out of water goes to a strait-laced land' thing far better. This film, sort of, led to his decline as a director at this stage onwards. 

The comedy was what truly let this film down - it needed to be more absurd, wackier and zany, & funnier and with an entirely different cast - my reboot/remaking would have Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy- and better and funnier jokes, !Three Amigos' would be an even bigger success than this version was


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