19 September 2010


Twelve Things about 3 Men and a Baby

12. The opening sequence is great. Half the story is told by the mural being painted in their vestibule. It's almost hieroglyphic.

11. I also like their old-fashioned telephone. I don't think it means anything I can analyse, but I love it.

10. And if this review seems to have mostly inane observations, that is because I found myself thinking that a movie like this is best reviewed by a man.

Yes, I laughed a lot and felt very warm inside whenever little Mary was in a frame . . . but when you have something forthrightly titled 3 Men and a Baby, then you know the real source of the humour is the way three perfectly capable men deal with having their lives turned upside-down by the baby left on their doorstep. And I think that completely unlikely scenario is one best appreciated by another man. So if one of the gentlemen who reads this blog would kindly explain to me the scene in which Ted Danson's character, the father of the baby, puts a pillow under his jumper and checks out the profile he cuts in the mirror . . . I'd be very obliged. (Anyone?)

9. Indeed, I found myself having a hard time relating to the characters. If I had to pick someone from among the leads, I'd say I'm most like Steve Gutenberg's cartoonist character--the one who paints the murals and is better at saving other people's failed relationships than starting a romance of his own. But if I had to pick from among the women . . .

I was a little surprised that the girlfriend of Tom Selleck's character wasn't very willing to help them with the unexpected baby. I see why this was necessary, why it totally fits the story, and why giving in would have made her a complete doormat to a man already seeming to take her for granted--but her "Not my problem" attitude still isn't very attractive.

8. Okay, back to the inane stuff. 3 Men and Baby used to have my favourite movie ghost of all time . . .

. . . but now I learn that that was not a ghost at all;
it was a cardboard prop which we see in another scene. =(

7. But at least I saw a blooper! One character leaves the house in indecently tiny running shorts but wanders the store dressed in track pants.

6. Have I mentioned the illegal drugs subplot? Story-wise, it's a necessary element. The comedy alone doesn't really carry 3 Men and a Baby, which is like a feature film-length sitcom with really classy production values. For no matter how silly a new baby can make men look for a few weeks, they eventually figure things out and get the hang of what they need to do. And then you'll find you're watching a different sort of story.

I'd say the main thing wrong with many of today's "Stupid Father" sitcoms is that their writers have never recognised that reality and just continue hoping viewers will suspend disbelief enough to buy that sensible men keep messing up on a daily basis, over several years. Yeah, well, whatever.

5. And there was another 80s sitcom to fill the void, now that I think about it. My Two Dads, anyone? =P It was the decade of the single father. This was typical entertainment for people who could bear the truth only if it didn't dwell on the risks and came with a happy ending.

4. If I remember correctly, this was based on a French movie with the same premise--so 3 Men and a Baby is certainly not a mere Tom Selleck vehicle, although it seems that way at times. His character isn't even the baby's father and yet he has the most screen time, the most character development, the most sympathy from the audience, and the focal point of the poster. Interesting . . .

3. Okay, back to the illegal drugs. (How 80s! LOL!) This subplot makes the movie morph a bit into an Action Thriller, which lets our three pushover father figures get to be bad ass crime fighters as well. Yes, there's no real suspense or tension; but it's still a nice element to throw in for male viewers from the decade that gave us the beefiest Action stars of all time.

2. Surprisingly, they don't leave the baby at home with a sitter while they're out fighting the bad guys--and how that works out for them reminds us why we don't see many babies in Thrillers to begin with. No glass ceilings for babies were broken here.

And yet . . . I really hate it when writers aren't creative enough to think of stories to tell around very little children. Take what happened in the TV drama Angel: the hero's infant son was taken away from him, allowed to grow up in an alternate plane, and returned to his original world when he was already a teenager. Not cool. Don't writers like babies?

1. Favourite quote: "This show has been running longer than Mary has been alive!"

You know that a baby has wormed her way into your heart when her birth becomes the point of your personal history by which you start dating everything else. It's all either older than the baby or younger than the baby.

Image Sources: a) Three Men and a Baby poster, b) Three Men and a Baby ghost


ninjapeps said...

even back when I first watched it, I never believed that whole ghost thing. it was too obviously a prop. besides, the "ghost" looked too much like Ted Dansen.

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

the entire speech path dept at NSU was atwitter over that 'ghost'-- so fun and creepy! Too funny how we would try to pause the vhs tape at the right moment-- Aren't dvds delightful...

Enbrethiliel said...


@Peppy: Now my favourite ghost is the little boy in Rocky IV . . . unless they've managed to explain him, too? =S

@Lesa: Wasn't it fun? =) My family and I did the same thing using laser disc! LOL!

christopher said...

LOL ma'am!!! I'd never heard of the Rocky IV ghost before, where do you find this stuff?!!! That's a great clip but if you watch closely, you can see the coat of the boy trailing behind the man as he turns. Hope I'm not ruining the fun... =0

christopher said...

Here's the clip where you can see it pretty clearly

Enbrethiliel said...


It's official. All my ghosts are gone!!! *weeps*

And all I have to say to your original question is . . . You mean other people don't just find this stuff, too? =P

One day I will blog about my Rocky experience and the reason I will always love Sylvester Stallone.

christopher said...

Sorry :( I wasn't sure if I should have posted the link (you can still delete it) but I bet you've got more up your sleeve. On the edge of my seat though to hear the Rocky story.

(edited for more atrocious and careless typing on my part)

Paul Stilwell said...

What I remember in particular about this movie was being envious of their apartment.

Enbrethiliel said...


Stilwell, I totally know what you mean!!! While watching the movie, all I could think was, "If Locus Focus were a movie meme . . ."

And that mural in the vestibule was something else! Which now makes me wonder . . . Do you do portraits?

Paul Stilwell said...

Yep, I can do portraits. :)

I always liked that opening sequence with Guttenberg painting the vestibule.

Dauvit Balfour said...

Ahhh, I haven't seen this one in quite a while, but I enjoyed it when I did.

I really hated the way season 3 of Angel ended, so much so that I haven't been able to bring myself to watch season 4.

Enbrethiliel said...


Paul: Wonderful! =)

Dauvit: 3 Men and a Baby does have a lot of heart! I dare someone not to be charmed by it.

I never really got into Angel, even during the first season. And since Doyle was my favourite character, well . . . =S

Suburbanbanshee said...

Actually, all Three Men and a Baby type movies, including the anime Tokyo Godfathers, are based on a John Ford movie (a Western) called The Three Godfathers. It's based on a very famous short story by Peter Kynes (a Western), of which the John Wayne wasn't even the fourth movie version. (Ford had done a version once before, even.)

The Kynes story is MUCH darker.

Enbrethiliel said...


In other words, it's really not a Tom Selleck vehicle? ;-)

Enbrethiliel said...


PS--Banshee, for what it's worth, this movie gives credit not to the Ford films but to the French movie whose title I still can't remember.