No Frankincense, Gold, or Myrrh but a Little Mirth
"Three Wise Guys" is a made for TV Christmas movie and quite frankly it shows; from a thin storyline, some less than stunning writing and at times a distinct sense of padding it is by no means a good movie. But then it has its moments and a semi decent cast that raise the material to a higher standard making it both a little charming and a little entertaining. As such "Three Wise Guys" is the sort of Christmas movie which when shown on TV and there is nothing else to watch isn't a bad way to while away an hour or so but not something you would go out of your way to watch.
Dodgy Casino boss Murray Crown (Tom Arnold - Nine Months) hires three wise guys to not only take out 2 men who threaten to expose his dodgy financial dealings but also to bring back his pregnant girlfriend, Mary (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe - She's All That). The trouble is that when the three wise guys track down Mary not only do they warm to her, especially the charming Joey (Eddie McClintock - Picking Up & Dropping Off) who starts to fancy her, but she is also quite cunning herself constantly slipping away from the bungling hitmen as she tries to get to her real boyfriend who is the father of her baby and just happens to be the Drummer boy one of those men the wise guys are meant to be silencing.
"Three Wise Guys" is a Christmas movie and as the name sort of suggests is a movie which draws on the nativity but with it being Three WISE Guys also has that mobster/hitman connection with it being set around a casino. That in itself is not bad it's quite an amusing set up with three bungling wise guys given the task of dispatching a couple of guys and bringing a pregnant girlfriend back to their boss. As such the writing tries its best to throw in as many Christmas and Bible references as possible with the girlfriend being Mary who stops off in the town of Nazareth whilst her boyfriend is called Jake 'Jacob' Marley. There is even a gag about roasting chestnuts on an open fire and a character called the Little Drummer boy. Although it has to be said that the writing isn't great as these Christmas references seem to have been thrown in to try and be clever but are far too obvious.
Actually as a whole the writing is not great as "Three Wise Guys" becomes a case of one of the wise gusy falling for Mary whilst they try and bring her back and stop her delivering a computer disk of incriminating financial details. It is all rather weak, obvious and quite dull only pepped up by those obvious Christmas references. Although the ending has a slight sweetness to it even though it is once again obvious.
And talking of obvious you have to say the characters are all a bunch of stereotypes with the three wise guys feeling like you've seen them before in other movies. They somehow manage to combine that whole wise guy thing with a bit of "Home Alone" wet bandit style ineptness making them amusing but forgettable. The same can be said for their boss Murray and pregnant girlfriend Mary although at least she isn't just a sap but in fact quite devious.
What ends up helping "Three Wise Guys" appear better than it is, is the performances as none of the actors come across as taking it seriously almost on the verge of cracking up in places at the weakness of the script. Tom Arnold, Eddie McClintock, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe and Nicholas Turturro really seem to be having fun whilst Judd Nelson still manages to entertain despite looking distinctly uncomfortable playing such a daft role.
What this all boils down to is that "Three Wise Guys" is what it is, a less than brilliant TV movie and a Christmas one at that. But despite being obvious and weak when it comes to the jokes, characters and storyline it still manages to be a little charming and entertaining. It really is that sort of movie which if you came across it on TV would be fun to watch but not to go out of the way to see.