Masters of impersonation all, Martin, Chase and Short are a rivetting
trio. All seem perfectly at home in the wacky rhythm of this picture and
in contributing their individual talents to the very funny whole. For the
folks who see them, the Amigos' enthusiasm will likely be contagious. [12 Dec 1986, p.D4]
Martin’s script—co-written with SNL producer Lorne Michaels and songwriter Randy Newman—is full of inspired bits of comic business, such as Martin making a “lookuphere!” bird call to get his chums’ attention, Chase pouring water all over his face while his mates’ canteens are dry, and the Amigos summoning an invisible swordsman whom Chase accidentally shoots.
Though Three Amigos is the kind of skin-deep contemporary comedy that assembles its stars and then just coasts, it's friendlier than most. And it contains a few elements that are destined for immortality.
The script of Three Amigos (Martin's collaborators were producer Lorne Michaels and singer Randy Newman) plays like it was slapped together by a few friends with a tape recorder enjoying a charming weekend at the beach. You can't tell one amigo from another, the gags are silly (a "singing bush") and far between, the dialogue full of inane wordplay. Sample: "We could take a walk and you could kiss me on the veranda." "The lips would be fine."
Prodded by Landis' slam-bang direction, the effect isn't so much a comedy as it is an exercise in excess. Somewhere in the planning stage one all-important factor was left out: humor. The concept is a funny one, yet no one seems to have the faintest idea of what to do with it. Between Landis' direction and the initially lame screenplay, Three Amigos never really stands a chance.