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    Three Men and a Baby

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 99 mins . PG . PAL


    I thought that Three Men and a Baby was a pretty cool flick when I saw it in the cinema, and if the box office results were any indication, the rest of the planet agreed. Indeed, it raked in over $US160 million in the States, and is still one of the biggest grossing comedies of all time. For a film boasting a paper-thin plot, a very modest budget and an inexperienced director (no less than Leonard Nimoy... yup, Spock himself!) to score that kind of moolah is amazing. For a film lumbered with Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson to do so is nothing short of miraculous.

    Tom Selleck, Guttenberg and Danson star as three Manhattan bachelors whose carefree, promiscuous lifestyles are thrown into disarray when a newborn baby is left on their doorstep. Through a series of "crazy coincidences" (read: "cliched contrivances"), they are forced to care for the infant themselves, rather than doing the obvious thing by alerting the authorities. A pair of fairly non-threatening drug dealers who believe that the gang are hiding a stash of heroin complicate matters further. Of course, hilarious mishaps ensue. Crazy!

    It's easy to be cynical about this film, as it's so... mild. The humour is exclusively of the gentle, feel-good variety, never getting more risque than the scene wherein a panicked Guttenberg hides a packet of heroin in the baby's nappy as a detective searches their house.

    The film has dated reasonably well. The overfamiliarity of the one-gag story is offset by the gut-bustingly hilarious Eighties fashions and haircuts. A party scene in the beginning is so replete with horrid perms, teased fringes, skinny ties and pastel clothes that, viewed through modern eyes, it's the comedic high point of the film.

    By the way, fact fans, this is a remake of a French comedy, Trois Hommes et un Couffin. By all accounts, it's better than its inspiration (a rarity indeed).


    The image is a widescreen 2:35:1, 16:9 enhanced transfer. There are a few flecks, mainly at the start of the film, but nothing too distracting.


    We're given a Dolby 5.1 mix which does its job adequately. Dialogue is clear and crisp, as is (unfortunately) the horrendous Eighties soundtrack. Ugh.


    Absolutely NONE.


    Three Men and a Baby is a sweet and gentle comedy, perhaps too much so for viewers used to the increasingly risque content of the average twenty-first century mainstream comedy blockbuster. Nevertheless, it's an agreeable waste of ninety minutes, with some decent performances (Tom Selleck is a dude) and a few scattered belly laughs. The picture and sound are fine, and the absence of extras is not particularly upsetting for a slight piece of fluff like this.

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      And I quote...
    "The overfamiliarity of the one-gag story is offset by the gut-bustingly hilarious Eighties fashions and haircuts. "
    - Terry Oberg
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