Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, John Cleese
Director: Charles Crichton
Running Time: 108 mins
A Fish Called Wanda is a British film about a group of four criminals who team up to commit the perfect robbery, and then end up trying to double-cross each other for the loot in a tale of lies, lust, deception and seafood.
This is a modern comedy classic. Apart from being incredibly funny, as you’d expect from a film written by John Cleese, it’s got a really interesting, unpredictable and fun plot, with lots of different events being thrown around here and there, which turns it into this brilliantly farcical caper.
The comedy is not, however, as you’d expect it from one of the masterminds of such things as Fawlty Towers and Monty Python. While there is still a bit of that stupid and farcical feel left over, the comedy is often a lot deeper and more character-based.
For example, Otto, one of the criminals, has this constant fear of being called ‘stupid’. Every time it’s brought up it causes all sorts of outbursts, and that’s most funny not because of the outbursts that ensue, but the unpredictability and strange tension you seem to feel when you realise that someone’s called Otto ‘stupid’.
So that shows you what sort of comedy you get, and there’s a whole heap of running jokes that go on throughout the film, however the other most entertaining part of the story is the unpredictability of the plot.
As it’s set out like a caper, but with a strange romance thrown in the middle, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get some weird plot lines, however it also allows for some great tension and madness within the story.
It’s even impossible to see some of the most important plot lines coming just before they do, due to both the fact that it is genuinely unpredictable, as well as so hilarious at times that you don’t expect a proper plot twist to come along, and that combination makes this one of the most entertaining and exciting films I’ve seen for a long time.
Finally, there are some great performances. Mr. Cleese avoids typecasting by stepping away from a Basil Fawlty-esque role, while Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Palin are both great fun to watch. However, Kevin Kline’s performance as Otto is the standout one of the entire film, because not only is he extremely funny, but he makes Otto this unexpectedly frightening character that is so unpredictable he gives you the shivers.
Anyway, this gets an 8.3 overall from me, because it’s both fun and silly, while being exciting and interesting to follow along to.