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'Three Amigos' (PG)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 12, 1986

STEVE MARTIN, Martin Short and Chevy Chase go south of the border for "Three Amigos," the cinematic equivalent of Montezuma's revenge. It's a calamity of a comedy, the perfect complement to concession-stand nachos con cheez.

Martin, as executive producer and cowriter, shoulders a hefty share of the blame for this limping, laughless lampoon. With cowriters Lorne Michaels and Randy Newman, he swipes lamely at B-westerns, singing cowboys and TV heroes like "The Cisco Kid."

These amigos are just wild and crazy caballeros in rhinestone sombreros and satin chaps, circa 1916. They're silent movie stars mistaken for authentic troubleshooters by a poor seņorita (Patrice Martinez) whose village, Santa Poco, has become the stomping ground of the bandit El Guapo. The Amigos, between jobs, mistake her desperate cablegram for a movie offer and make for Poco pronto. When in Mexico, they mistake El Guapo (Alfonso Arau) and his band for costars and the shoot-'em-up for a movie shoot.

All the stars stick to their usual shtick, except Chase -- who virtually sleeps through the piece. Looking like a Mr. Potatohead piņata, Chase is Pauncho to Martin's Crisco (still the slippery guy), with Short not quite nutso enough as a second-string sidekick.

The jokes are as old as Roy Rogers -- "You can kiss me on the veranda," she says. "The lips would be fine," he says. And the plot gits along like a pokey dogie under the laborious direction of the beleaguered John Landis. He's too loose with the reins here, allowing Martin to upstage his costars and Short to overcompensate. But I must say, he only draws attention to himself. And in a movie like this, you ought to hope nobody'll notice you were in it.

Copyright The Washington Post

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