Saturday 21 December 2013

3 Men and a Goblin (2013)

Director: Julie Van Lith
Stars: Gary Herkimer, Tim Helmstadter, Patrick Giglio and Bill Wetherill
This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.
For a while, 3 Men and a Goblin is just three men and it's a whole bundle of fun until that goblin makes his inevitable appearance. These three are old men, even if they're played by spring chickens like Bill Wetherill, Tim Helmstadter and Patrick Giglio with their hair artificially whitened, and they're a blast as they call each other dumbasses and retell old stories with new details. For a few minutes, this is a riot with ostentatious dialogue delivered with class. It's something of a letdown to discover that the required line of dialogue was something as banal as 'What the heck are you doin' here?' Writer/director Julie Van Lith, with help from Helmstadter, added far superior lines like, 'She was a sword swallower and the love of my life,' 'I ought to slap you till Jeopardy starts!' and even, 'It's OK if you're a back door bandit; ain't no shame in that.' If they got back together for a full ninety minutes of material like this, it would be a sight to see. The challenge would be to have Wetherill laugh so hard he'd fall out of his wheelchair.

Unfortunately just past the halfway mark, the goblin shows up and the film jumps the shark so acutely that I'd be hard pressed to think of a better example. A naked man chases down a hallway on all fours, a goblin appears in negative to spout like Yoda and we're given, get this, an intertitle that explains a plot that's just arrived without being asked. Sure, it sets up a funny ending, but it's really not needed; it could have all been told without the goblin and it would have worked just as well, if not far better. It's almost worth it just to see Wetherill kiss a goat, but... no, it's not worth it. In the end, like the men and their remembered lady loves, we're stuck watching the terrible outcome of what could have been great fun. Their dialogue substitutes for ours. 'Oh, my eyes are on fire!' one cries, before they add in unison: 'Take it back, goblin, take it back!' Hear, hear! Three Men and a Boat needed the boat, but 3 Men and a Goblin would have been far better with a boat instead of a goblin. Now I want 3 Men: The Web Series.

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