Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Film Review: THREE MEN AND A BABY (1987, Leonard Nimoy)

Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 102 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, Ted Danson (BECKER), Nancy Travis (BECKER), John Gould Rubin. Based on the French film THREE MEN AND A CRADLE, written and directed by Coline Serreau.
Tag-line: "They changed her diapers. She changed their lives."
Best one-liner: "I'm an architect for Christ sake, I build 50 story skyscrapers, I assemble cities of the future, I can certainly put together a goddam diaper."

Is there anyone out there who'd like to make the groan-inducing observation "it's Mr. Spock meets Dr. Spock" one last time before I declare a moratorium on it for all of eternity? Speak now, or forever hold your peace. 3...2...1. Okay. Anyone who henceforth utters the above statement shall be sentenced to a quadruple-teaming by Selleck, Guttenberg, Danson, and a baby rattle for the rest of your natural lives.

And when they're done, they'll just clink their glasses and start right over again.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we can discuss the film at hand. We begin with the song, "Bad Boys." No, not the one by Wham!- the one by Miami Sound Machine. And it perfectly sets the tone for the lovable mediocrity which follows. The 80's were big on one-joke premises (i.e., TWINS- How on earth could Arnie and DeVito be twins?!). Here, it's "Whaaat on earth are three bachelors gonna do with a baaaaby?!"

And you know what, I can live with that. It's way better than the piffling bunkum which passes for comedy these days. The 80's were also real big on inserting 'drug trafficking' subplots into their screwball comedies. Not sure what's so funny about that, but I guess ya write what ya know. Anyway, we got The Gute, The 'Leck, and The Dansonator. Not exactly a holy trinity of laffs, but close enough. They're givin' it their all. The Gute is, as always, likable as hell, toeing that fine line between ‘endearing’ and ‘smartass.’ The 'Leck probably delivers the best performance- in the midst of perpetual zaniness, he manages to exude a bit of gravity and motherly concern.

I feel as if Selleck would’ve been more at home in the 1930's- maybe he could have been, say, a Clark Gable-type instead of what he became in the 80's, which was a poor man's Burt Reynolds. Danson is MIA for much of the movie. The first hour could be called TWO MEN AND A BABY. But when he returns- wow- things get almost BECKER-good. One image sums it all up: the trio serenading the baby with some a cappella doo-wop.

Doobie doobie wah

It’s a good thing you caught me in a good mood, movie. Three stars.

And I guess I just can't resist showing the ghost of the kid who died on set.

(Or rather, what's apparently been proven to be an inexplicable cardboard cut-out.)

-Sean Gill


J.D. said...

All I gotta say is that this film coulda used a good dose of Michael Ironside! Maybe as a case worker who tries to take the baby away from our 3 protagonists?

Sean Gill said...

Haha- or better yet, IRONSIDE AND A BABY. It could be chock full of the parenting gems from NOWHERE TO HIDE. Or, going even further out there, it could be some kind of amalgamation of genres- like IRONSIDE VS. IT'S ALIVE.