Chevy Chase, Martin Short and Steve Martin in Three Amigos

They are the Three Amigos

As a rule I have one issue with 80s movies, I loved them when I watched them back in the 80s, they were a huge part of my teenage years, yet now when I re-watch an old favourite I am generally disappointed and left with tarnished memories. Thankfully having re-watched "Three Amigos" for the first time in 20 plus years I found a movie which was almost as good as I remembered with humour which still works and plenty of memorable scenes thanks to the trio of Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase. It does feel slower than I remembered it but still "Three Amigos" brought a smile to my face with its western spoof.

When a small Mexican village grows tired of being plagued my Mexican bandits lead by El Guapo (Alfonso Arau - Romancing the Stone) they decide they need to do something and so the attractive Carmen (Patrice Martinez) heads off to hire some men to help scare of El Guapo. Well she finds 3 men, or at least sees a film of the Three Amigos and mistakes them for real heroes instead of actors, actors who just as it happens have been fired by the studio. So when the 3 Amigos Lucky Day (Steve Martin), Dusty Bottoms (Chevy Chase) and Ned Nederlander (Martin Short) receive Carmen's letter asking for them to come to her village and put on a show by scaring El Guapo away they are more than happy to oblige especially when they think they are being hired to just perform.

Alfonso Arau as El Guapo in Three Amigos

So as already mentioned "Three Amigos" is a western spoof and more specifically a spoof built around "The Magnificent Seven" movies. But whilst I call it a spoof it's not the over the top farce that you might think of when you think of spoofs and whilst filled with plenty of gags and set pieces is controlled more by the western storyline. This is where "Three Amigos" can and probably will divide audiences because if you watch it expecting a wacky over the top farce which goes off on comical tangents with set pieces which are included because someone thought they were funny then you may be disappointed. Instead "Three Amigos" is more of a family comedy which delivers humour from the storyline rather than because someone tried to squeeze in a funny scene which has no relevance.

But what is so good about "Three Amigos" is that despite now being 25 years old it is almost as good as it was all those years ago. So okay it does feel a little slower than I remember but the humour which comes from parodying the western genre is still as funny as ever especially with our heroes being a trio of movie stars who the Mexicans mistake for being real heroes. It maybe obvious stuff with all the confusion with the Mexicans thinking Lucky, Dusty and Ned are real gunfighters whilst the trio think they have been hired just to put on a show but it makes you smile by being daft.

All this daftness works because in Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase you have 3 of the best comedians especially during the 80s. But in all honesty "Three Amigos" is very much Steve Martin's movie as whilst we have Chevy Chase as Dusty Bottoms basically playing the fool and Martin Short as Ned Nederlander delivering a bit of his wonderful nervous humour pretty much everything revolves around Steve Martin as Lucky Day. Now this isn't the wild and wacky Steve Martin from his earlier movies and not the sedate Martin of recent years, this is middle ground Martin and in some ways a more entertaining Martin because the humour is not so extreme. Of course those who enjoyed the craziness of early Steve Martin may be disappointed but in many ways it makes "Three Amigos" a more accessible movie which the whole family can watch.

Having said that there are times when the daftness of the humour goes too far or feels out of place which is certainly the case of the semi sub-plot about a German selling guns to Mexican bandit El Guapo. And whilst an amusing idea, a scene which sees Lucky, Dusty and Ned set up camp under the stars ending up singing goes a little bit too far as it ends up feeling like a bad trip with singing animals. Don't get me wrong it's still funny but seems out of synch with the level of comedy in the rest of the movie which whilst plays it safe is fun.

What this all boils down to is that "Three Amigos" is one of a few 80s movies which when watched now is nearly as good as it was back then. It is daft as it parodies the western genre but entertaining in a family friendly kind of way with simple inoffensive humour which thankfully still works. It does feel slower than I remembered it but is a great example of the middle ground humour which Steve Martin delivered so well.