Critic Reviews



Based on 18 critic reviews provided by
Time Out
Making excellent use of Nolte's controlled toughness and Short's hysterical freneticism, Weber plays the comic action hard and fast, grounding the humour in believable reality that has spiralled out of control.
Despite its herky-jerky pace and aimlessness of plot, Three Fugitives is engaging sport, primarily enjoyable for the hearty teamwork of Nolte and Short -- a comedic contretemps as bruising as a Punch and Judy show.
Given such a cloying and utterly predictable plot, it's surprising that Three Fugitives works as well as it does. Nolte, all big shoulders and bashfulness shows a pleasant self-deprecating talent and copes very well with the array of humiliations ranged against him.
As for the Nolte-Short pairing, it’ll do, but it’s no chemical marvel. Nolte, not really a comic natural, gruffs and grumbles his way through as hunky straight man to Short’s calamitous comedian.
This comedy has the earmarks of humor and even a few genuine laughs, but it also has a prefabricated, automatic-pilot feeling.
Boston Globe
Three Fugitives isn't the total disaster that such remakes as "The Woman in Red" and "The Tall Blond Man with One Red Shoe" have been. It has moments, mostly having to do with physical comedy, of which Veber is a master. Mostly, though, you keep closing your eyes and wishing that when you open them, Nolte and Short will be gone, and Gerard Depardieu and Pierre Richard will appear in their place, as they deserve to. [27 Jan 1989, p.72]
This obvious attempt to tap into the same audience that flocked to THREE MEN AND A BABY (indeed, it could have been titled "Two Men and a Toddler") is about as lifeless as they come. Not only is THREE FUGITIVES a scene-for-scene remake of Veber's French original, it is actually shot for shot the same film. Not surprisingly, the resulting film feels mechanical, despite engaging performances from Short and Nolte.
Nick Nolte and Martin Short make a frequently hilarious odd couple, but the film itself is shamelessly sentimental and often slapdash.
It would be wrong to blame Martin Short alone for the failure of Three Fugitives. Francis Veber, the French filmmaker who wrote and directed the film, must accept much of the responsibility.
Francis Veber's Three Fugitives, a heist caper, starts off with comic promise then limps all the way from the bank.

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