Three Wise Guys (2005 TV Movie)
User ReviewsReview this title
When I first saw this on USA, I knew I'd found another 25-December tradition. It reworks the pivotal nativity story into a modern world that involves three brash hit men, a tricky pregnant girl, and a "little drummer boy" named Jake Marley. Tom Arnold is the modern-day King Herod.
Katey Sagal, Arnold, and two of the three wise guys give fantastic performances. The weak link is Judd Nelson, whose delivery is almost always like he's reading from cue cards or just trying to get out of dodge.
And maybe a TV movie isn't exactly going to be four-star cinema (contrary to the vivid impression left by Hallmark's stunning "Merlin"), but this is definitely a lot better than even some theatrical Christmas excursions ("Christmas with the Kranks," for instance, or "The Santa Clause").
The movie stars Nick Turturro, Eddie McClintock, and Judd Nelson as three "wise guys" who work for Tom Arnold's character Murray, a casino owner in Las Vegas. One of Murray's employees is about to turn rat, and the three wise guys are dispatched. These guys are supposed to be hit men, yet no one pulls a gun until the last 20 minutes of the movie. The only one of the three that even acts like a hired killer is Judd Nelson, who portrays brooding George. When they think the guy they were supposed to rough up has had a heart attack and died, all three act like they've never seen a dead body before.
Anyhow, they end up bungling the whole affair, and have to run down the pregnant mistress of the boss to get back a stolen computer disk. The pregnant suit they have the poor girl wearing is not very convincing. She runs (not waddles), and when she rests her hands on her belly you can see creases in the foam padding.
Keeping in mind that this is a B movie, they have the obligatory Roddy Piper cameo. (as a priest!) Katey Sagal plays the mobster's wife who doesn't seem very upset that her husband has been screwing a showgirl and may have gotten her pregnant, and there are tons of vague references to other Christmas stories (the drummer the wise guys are chasing is named Jacob Marley, etc). For some reason, most of Tom Arnold's dialog seems overdubbed.
Not a bad movie, a few chuckles, I guess you can't really ask for much from a made for TV USA B-movie. This could've been SO much better.
5.6 / 10 stars
--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener
Anyway, I got sucked in, and found myself really enjoying this film. Many of the tongue-in-cheek references to the Christmas story of Jesus's birth with a healthy dash of pop culture were very clever, and I chuckled to myself frequently (that might have been the pain meds, though...see above reference to my hospital stay). It wasn't until the end that I "got" Boy and Girl were Joey/Joseph and Mary, and that it was a stable of sorts they were in, not a farm outbuilding (I realize, of course, that's what a stable is, but...oh, you know what I mean).
Three Wise Guys moved along at a pleasant pace, not so fast as to seem unrealistic in its timing or too quickly to miss the jokes, and not so slow that you lose sight of where the plot must be going.
If I had to pick a couple of elements that I just didn't like, the first would be...how many women who are THAT pregnant are so un-swollen that they could wear boots like that? How many 9-months pregnant women could *walk* in boots like that? For that matter, how many massively-pregnant women could run, crouch, pee behind a bush, and basically out-think and out-maneuver 3 professional hit men? It shouldn't have been much of a competition, if one at all...especially with her in those boots, and all.
Secondly, there were a few Biblical references that were just out-and-out over the top. While some were cute (I particularly liked the fact that the Drummer's name was Jake Marley, and the name of the town where they finally caught up with him was named Pahrump), some were foppish and awkward (the pan of the sign for the city of Nazareth, for example, was just overtly obvious, and the doling out of presents after the birth of Baby was a mite bit clichéd).
All in all, I think this was a light, cute, entertaining piece of holiday fluff. Probably not destined to become the classics that The Christmas Story (how that became a holiday standard, I'll never understand) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation have become (in regards to modern classics, that is; nothing holds a candle to the old stand-bys Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life), but a fun piece of entertainment nonetheless.