Three Chumps Ahead (1934) Poster

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Some Good Laughs
Michael_Elliott31 March 2009
Three Chumps Ahead (1934)

*** (out of 4)

Hal Roach short turns out to be one of the better entries in the Thelma Todd/Patsy Kelly series. In the film Todd is excited because she's met a millionaire (Eddie Phillips) but Kelly isn't so sure he's who he says he is. Kelly decides to stick around on their date just to see how much trouble she can cause. I've seen a limited number of these Todd/Kelly shorts and for the most part they've been hit and miss but this one here is clearly the best of the bunch. Turner Classic Movies show these from time to time and after this one I'm really looking forward to future airings. What works best here is that the supporting characters actually offer the two leads support. Phillips is very good and very funny in the role of the suitor and his facial gestures are priceless as he keeps getting annoyed with Kelly's antics. Benny Baker also gets a few good laughs as his buddy and Frank Moran, who some might remember from "B" Monogram pictures like GHOSTS ON THE LOOSE and THE CORPSE VANISHES, is very funny as a waiter. Kelly and Todd are also up to their usual standards and work well with the rest of the cast. The highlight is certainly the ending where the men discover they don't have enough money to pay for the check.
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Witless and dismal Hal Roach short with Todd and Kelly...
Neil Doyle26 April 2009
These early Hal Roach shorts were on very wobbly ground. First of all, the scripts were entirely witless, not even up to the standards of early comedy sketches on TV in the late '40s and early '50s.

Lacking any subtlety or wit, this one has an overly enthusiastic THELMA TODD declaring love for a worthless man who kisses her hand and convinces her that he's a dashing knight with money. PATSY KELLY is her slovenly maid who sees through the whole thing and takes an instant dislike to Todd's suitor.

In a series of unfunny scenes, the match goes from bad to worse, ending in a nightclub where the guy allows Kelly and Todd to order a fancy meal knowing he can't pay the check. He has the last laugh.

Maybe this was funny back in the Depression days, but now it's just downright depressing and the material is all very dated.
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