A Fish Called Wanda
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Cleese/Kline/Curtis/Palin/Geor ~ Fish Called Wanda
Kevin Kline took home an Oscar for his performance as a self-absorbed lothario who prepares for lovemaking by drinking in his own "manly" musk, but it would be hard to single him out as the best thing about the film. The fact is, the entire cast of this hilarious comedy is perfect: John Cleese as the conservative barrister defending a member of sexy Jamie Lee Curtis's gang, Ms. Curtis as the conniving crook out to grab the haul for herself, and Michael Palin as the stuttering, animal-loving hit man whose attempts to murder a little old lady only decrease the size of her poodle pack. Cleese cowrote the zingy script with British comedy veteran Charles Crichton (The Lavender Hill Mob), whose smooth direction balances Monty Python farce, hysterically tasteless gags, and an unexpectedly romantic subplot with style and confidence. --Sean Axmaker
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Top Customer Reviews
I knew about Monty Python and has all the episodes that my PBS affiliate would broadcast, but was relatively unfamiliar with any work the troupe's members had done outside of the series (I don't even think I had seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail yet), except for a late-night cable run-in with Michael Palin's The Missionary, a mild sex comedy about a missionary and a home for fallen women.
I had no idea what to expect. Palin had always been my favorite Python (and still is), so I was very curious to see what he would do outside the Python realm. I got more than I bargained for.
Written by John Cleese from a story by Cleese and director Charles Crichton (various Ealing comedies including The Lavender Hill Mob), A Fish Called Wanda is a comedy about four crooks (Jamie Lee Curtis: Wanda, Kevin Kline: Otto, Tom Georgeson: George, and Michael Palin: Ken) who are all trying to double-cross each other by linking with other members of the group. Wanda in particular has the cards stacked in her favor, as she is--in one way or another--attempting to seduce all three men.
The humor comes from several directions. As the old lady is the only one who can ID any of them, George asks Ken to eliminate her. Unfortunately, he keeps killing her pet dogs instead--one at a time. As an animal lover, this leaves Ken in no end of distress. Very black humor, indeed. Meanwhile, Otto is trying to get information from Ken by pretending to be gay. Ken isn't either, but Otto doesn't seem to care. He continues to come on to him.Read more ›
"To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you! I've worn dresses with higher IQ's!...Aristotle was not Beligan! The central message of Buddhism is not 'Every Man for Himself!' And the London Underground is not a political movement!"
"He's going to kill her! HAAAA HA HA!....[bleep] off, or I'll kill you! Limey FRUITS!"
"My father was in the Secret Service, Mr. Manfrenginsinton, and I know PERFECTLY well that you do not keep the general public informed when you are de-briefing KGB defectors in a safe house...not unless you're genetically insane or irretrievably stupid, no."
"Oh, you English are SO superior, aren't you? Well, you want to know where you would be, without us, the good old U.S. of A., to protect you? I'll tell you: the SMALLEST [bleep]ING PROVINCE in the RUSSIAN EMPIRE! So don't call me stupid, lady, just THANK ME!"
Need I say more?
Curtis is Wanda, part of a diamond group along with Ken (Palin), George Thomason (Tom Georgeson), and her "brother" Otto (Kline). They pull off a multi-million pound heist in England, and hide the loot. It seems, though, that Wanda and Otto (who aren't actually brother and sister but lovers) want it all for themselves. So they turn George into the police to try to find out where he hid the loot. It seems the only person George would have told about where the loot is would be his barrister Archie Leach (Cleese). So, naturally, Wanda goes up to him and becomes `friends' with him, much to the dismay of Otto.
A Fish Called Wanda is a twistful and delightful comedy that shows the new sex comedies that they don't need gross body functions to be funny. I'm not saying this movie is completely tasteful. Ken, who is an animal lover, accidentally kills dogs. But, it's not too explicit. It's actually very funny.
Most of the humor comes from Kline, who always shows up whenever Archie and Wanda are together, and who pretends he's gay and tries to get Ken. Some of those subplots, such as the gay one and Kline hating people that call him stupid, seem to not matter. But it is funny. Cleese's script is full of surprises. And most of these laughs were genuine, unlike the fakey ones from other movies. Who can forget Kline's shout whenever he's in the car? It is a memorable movie.
Kline puts up his best comedic performance, and deserved his Oscar for best supporting actor.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
but not as funny as Faulty Towers. Would have given it at least a 3 star but didn't like the depiction of killing off the old lady's dogs, don't think that animal abuse is funny. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Frances
I found it a bit difficult to get into this movie at first, the humor is quite different to what I'm used to. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Len the Sound Guy
An old classic. Glad to have it in our collection againPublished 11 months ago by kathryn p. nickels
Excellent video. I saw it on TV few years ago. Still it is good to watch again.Published 14 months ago by V. Nelliah
With a cast like that, how can you not have a very entertaining moviePublished 19 months ago by Robert L. Ayers
Old technology, but very entertaining and really funny. I would recommend it to my friends and family who would enjoy 2 hours or so of light laugh.Published on Jan. 21 2013 by JS
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