In the 1860's Wild West, when a ragged bunch of misfit settlers decide they cannot stand living in their current situation, they hire a grizzled cowboy to take them on a journey back to their hometowns east.
Three out of work silent movie actors are accidentally drawn to a Mexican village that is being harassed by a gang of outlaws. The three, 'Ned', 'Lucky Day' and 'Dusty Bottoms' play 'Lone Ranger' types in their movies, but must play their parts for real now. Written by
The Three Amigos is one of those movies that can be hugely entertaining and amusing but only if you keep in mind that it is not a serious film. Chevy Chase, Martin Short, and Steve Martin, some of the funniest men ever to work in comedy, all team up here as The Three Amigos, a group of out of work actors in early Hollywood cinema. The unfortunate thing is that this is not a movie that is greater than the sum of its parts, since I would expect more from actors with the caliber of Martin, Chase, and Short, even working individually, but even the fact that they are all not used to their full potential is not enough to bring down the rest of the comedy here.
The story involves the three out of work silent film actors, who suddenly find themselves unemployed and broke when they receive a telegram from a small village in Mexico desperately asking their assistance. I liked how clever the ploy was where the woman who sent the message was so poor that she could not afford enough words to make her desires clear, so the Amigos read the message and think that they are about to be paid a fortune just to make an appearance in this village. Naturally they jump at the chance since they have nothing better to do.
Most of the rest of the film deals with their adventures in this village, which they are supposed to be protecting from an evil villain but do not realize that this is real life until one of them gets shot. You would think that they would have caught on sooner, but on the other hand, they DID happen to stumble into the only tiny village in Mexico where no one speaks Spanish, so it's not hard to understand why they thought the whole thing was a set up. If I went to Mexico and was walking around a dusty village with nothing but endless desert on every side and every single person was speaking only English, I would also wonder what movie set I had just wandered onto.
There is some interesting biblical content, which is made interesting really only because of the great satire. As the Amigos are walking through the valley in the shadow of death, they come upon not the talking bush or the burning bush, but the SINGING bush, and can't seem to get it to stop singing long enough to answer their question. `Will you please stop singing and tell us if you are the singing bush!' There's a hilarious sequence right after this about the invisible horseman, and just before was one of my favorite moments in the entire film, when Chase attempts to get off his horse but only succeeds in getting onto the horse next to him facing backwards and seems to be unsure about what just happened.
A lot of this movie is made up of funny skits which are strung along a thin and less than convincing clothesline of a plot, but even though the plot itself is not very believable the movie is still very entertaining. There are a lot of scenes that seem to go too far or just don't really seem to fit with the rest of the film (such as the campfire scene where all the animals join in to the campfire singing), but for the most part the comedy is very good and there are a lot of memorable scenes (the canteen scene in the desert for example, is one to remember!). Not a film that was meant to win any Oscars, but there is definitely some great comic entertainment to be had with The Three Amigos.
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