½*/**** Image B Sound B-
starring Nick Nolte, Martin Short, Sarah Rowland Doroff, James Earl Jones
written and directed by Francis Veber
by Walter Chaw Written and directed by Francis Veber, remaking his own Les Fugitifs from two years previous, Three Fugitives is one of the middle-period films under Disney's Touchstone imprint, although the growing pains are still obvious. What works in a French farce is wearying and disturbing in a purportedly "light-hearted" American comedy (see also: Three Men and a Baby, The Birdcage, and Cousins); not helping, of course, is a screenplay in English by a non-English speaker and a performance by Nick Nolte that is by turns unnecessarily terrifying and unintentionally grotesque. It is not as terrifying and grotesque, however, as the implications of a man released from prison after five years cuddling a little girl in an abandoned warehouse, nor of that same man demanding that little Martin Short dress up in drag.