Monday, March 23, 2015

Three Men and a Baby

Score Technicians: Amanda Hemmerling and Joe Hemmerling

In honor of the passing of the late great Leonard Nimoy and because of the tiny human Amanda is incubating in her abdomen, this technician duo decided to score Three Men and a Baby. For those who don't remember, the film centered around three totally straight grown men--actor Jack (Ted Danson), architect Peter (Tom Selleck), and cartoonist Michael (Steve "The Gute" Guttenberg)-- whose completely heterosexual lives are turned upside-down when an old flame of Jack's leaves their lovechild on the trio's doorstep. It entertained the hell out of us when we were nine, but to the nanobots, nostalgia weighs less than air. Let's see how it holds up under their merciless prodding.
  • Directed by Leonard Nimoy (yes, really). = +16pts 
  • Opening your movie with a sex montage that's completely devoid of sex. = -7pts 
  • Ambiguous sexuality alert: It's totally normal for three guys who live together to decorate their apartment by painting pictures on the wall of each other, right? = +6pts 
  • Attractive people with cool jobs living in New York City (see also: Friends, Sex and the City) in 1987 = +10pts, in 2015 = - 15pts. Net score = -5pts 
  • If you meet a jogger on the street who is immediately willing to go home with you, don’t do it. The likelihood of an adorable '80s movie unfolding in the aftermath is slim. = -8pts (Seriously, herpes is your best-case scenario.) 
  • Ambiguous sexuality alert: Two out of the three main characters go by their full first names. = +2pts 
  • You know the saying “does he ever age?” The opposite, “did he ever look young?” applies to Tom Selleck in this film. = -4pts 
  • Ted Danson, after quantum leaping into the future to steal Jerry Seinfeld’s pirate shirt, heads to Turkey to film a movie because plot device. = +11pts 
Not even the women who want to jump his bones can restrain their laughter at Ted Danson's Pirate Heff costume.
  • Tom Selleck follows Ted Danson’s lead and steals Alec Baldwin’s checkered Beetlejuice shirt. = +5pts
Saying his name three times will summon his mustache.
  • The Gute is the brains behind Johnny Cool, who's basically just Chester the Cheetah, but way more racially problematic. = -26pts
Hmmm...we just don't see it.
  • '80s movie staple: the musical stylings of Gloria Estefan. = +3pts 
  • When does Tom Selleck find time to design buildings with all the exercise that he does? = -2pts 
  • The classic someone left a baby at the door double take. = +9pts 
  • The Gute's ability to entertain a baby is about on par with his ability to entertain the rest of us. = -12pts 
  • A grocery clerk rattles off a list of items that babies might be allergic to, how to tell an infant’s exact age, and the best foods for newborns. Deleted scene: her decision to drop out of obstetrician school to work directly in the trenches of the diaper aisle. = +7pts 
  • Montage of Tom Selleck hand washing every clothing item the baby has pooped on. So they could afford a sprawling penthouse on the park but decided to scrimp on the washing machine? = -4pts 
  • Rebecca and Tom Selleck, who have been dating for five years, date other people with each other’s blessing. Pretty progressive for a man with a non-ironic moustache. = +6pts 
  • In addition to being a scumbag toward women, Ted Danson seems to have involved his roommates in trafficking drugs. That loveable scamp! = +12pts 
  • Why is the baby constantly wearing a bonnet? Is it Easter Sunday, 1955? = -3pts 
  • Hiding thousands of dollars worth of drugs in a baby's diaper. = +7pts 
  • Ambiguous sexuality alert: The three guys have a precious joint answering machine message... And an antique rotary phone. = +18pts 
  • Director Leonard Nimoy puts his sci-fi stamp on the film with the inclusion of “Ghost Boy,” the ghost of a boy who was killed when he mixed Pop Rocks and Coke, had his organs harvested by a prostitute, said Bloody Mary three times in a mirror, and realized the calls were coming from inside the house (spoiler: it’s just a cardboard cutout). = +23pts 
  • A realization: Between the scene of Tom Selleck reading inappropriate material to a baby in a soothing voice, the scene where Ted Danson tries to offload his daughter on his mom, and quite frankly the entire premise of the movie, a lot of plot points from Season 3 of Eastbound and Down were copped directly from this movie. = +28pts 
  • Ambiguous sexuality alert: Ted Danson decides the best way to evade the criminals is to dress as a woman and go for a night on the town. = +11pts 
Pictured: What Ted Danson's character thinks a woman looks like.
  • '80s movie plot staple: Meeting criminals in an abandoned construction site. = +3pts 
  • The guys decide to record Tom Selleck verbally exonerating them while handing the drugs off to the criminals, and then trap them in a freight elevator for the police to pick up. With a plan that flimsy, it's a miracle this movie wasn't titled Three Men and a Corresponding Number of Unmarked Graves in Upstate New York. = -28pts 
  • Detective Melkowitz (also known as the corrupt cop from The Dream Team) really wants to hold the god damn baby. = +4pts 
  • Tom Selleck's pleated shorts = +10pts 
  • Adorable hardhat or no, pretty sure a worksite is no place for a baby. = -18pts 
  • Ambiguous sexuality alert: Three guys taking their baby swimming in a public pool. = +3pts 
  • Selleck, Danson, and The Gute singing in close harmony. = +6pts 
  • Life advice from the PCS: If a woman conceals the existence of your child from you for a year-and-a-half, only to abandon her outside your doorstep for a month, maaaaaaybe think twice about letting her take the baby back whenever she wants. = -18pts 
  • Ambiguous sexuality alert: Ted Danson deals with his feelings by playing some '50s doo-wop and imagining in the mirror what having a baby bump is like. = +9pts 
  • '80s movie plot staple: Mad dash to the airport culminating post security line. = +5pts 
  • The happy Hollywood ending arrives when the guys agree to let a mentally unstable, infant-abandoning mother move into their apartment with her baby. It's a miracle the sequel didn't revolve around Sylvia spending days at a time in her bedroom and end with Ted Danson getting acid thrown in his face. = -34pts
Total Score = +37pts
Available on: DVD, basic cable somewhere probably?

It's apparent that the reason this movie appealed to us as children was because Three Men and a Baby share's a nine-year-old's conception of what adulthood is like. "Yeah, I can't wait until I'm a grown-up so I can move in with my best friends in an apartment that we'll decorate with murals that will forever commemorate our friendship! And we'll have girls over all the time, and they'll probably show us their boobs, but we won't let them stay with us, because girls are still kind of gross and scary."

Most of the laughs are the unintended kind, and they stem from how undeniably gay the protagonists are and how desperate the movie is to convince us otherwise. But while it's no comedic masterpiece, there is an undeniable charm to the film that feels a little lost from today's PG-13 comedies. One could easily imagine Three Men remade by Adam Sandler as a series of poop jokes interrupted only by perplexing celebrity cameos, and somehow involving Drew Barrymore. It's a relic of a simpler time, when a comedy could be broad without grating on every last nerve in your body.

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