“In a way, all of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be the actual El Guapo!”
It’s a tale as old as time – a small town being terrorized by a band of criminals, searching for a way to save themselves. Unfortunately, the Mexican village of Santa Poco called on the help of three bumbling film stars that have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.
¡THREE AMIGOS! (1986)
Through Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels has forged the path for most of our most popular comedic actors going back to the 1970s. With this film, which Michaels produced and co-wrote with star Steve Martin and composer Randy Newman, the comedy icon was hoping for a theatrical hit. ¡THREE AMIGOS! is a fairly middle-of-the-road comedy, starring Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short (in his first leading role) as three bumbling silent film stars in the 1920s. When one of their films is seen by a woman who lives in a Mexican village under siege by bandits, she writes to the ¡Three Amigos! asking for their help and offering to pay them 10,000 pesos (hoping they would refuse the money and save them anyway).
The amigos – Lucky Day (Martin), Dusty Bottoms (Chase) and Ned Nederlander (Short) have all just been fired from the movie studio for wanting more money, so they take the job, though they confuse the wire they received asking for help with a request for a performance. When they get to Santo Poco (yes, I know it’s SANTA Poco in the movie, but it’s grammatically incorrect Spanish and I always end up saying Santo Poco anyway, so that’s what I’m typing), the set-up leads to the comedic misunderstandings of an average SNL sketch, stretched out to 104 minutes, as the Amigos need to find the heroes within themselves to rid the village of the “infamous” El Guapo.
There’s nothing overly special about ¡THREE AMIGOS! – the gags are kind of obvious, the plot is somewhat predictable. It’s a standard 1980s Saturday Night Live-inspired comedy. Even still, I’ve always loved this movie, and I can watch it whenever it’s on TV. Director John Landis helps to elevate his cast over the mediocre script. And thankfully, Martin, Chase and Short have great chemistry together and raise up the average script. The supporting cast of Mexican villagers and members of El Guapo’s gang also add to the over-the-top comedy. Plus, we get cameos from Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz and Joe Montegna.
¡THREE AMIGOS! is a good way to spend an hour and a half. My biggest gripe with the DVD I watched is the lack of special features. As a fan of the gag reel, I imagine the filming of this movie would have had a ton of material to work with. Alas, it was made in a time before gag reels.
That’s all for this time around. Be sure to vote in the poll for the next installment – info on the choices can be found RIGHT HERE – via our Twitter account.
— The Casual Geekery (@Casual_Geekery) February 6, 2018