Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.
Sexy American diamonds lover Wanda and her boyfriend Otto are in England to plot alongside George and Ken the robbery of a diamond collection. Wanda and Otto want the stolen diamonds for themselves, and inform the police about George not knowing that he has already moved the diamonds to another secret place. Wanda thinks the best way to find out is by getting close to George's lawyer - Archie Leach. Written by
Sami Al-Taher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the opening sequence that introduces the principal cast, a model of the Eiffel Tower can be seen over Michael Palin's shoulder. This may be a reference to Charles Crichton's earlier film The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), in which Alec Guinness tries to smuggle the stolen gold out of England by melting the gold down and disguising the stolen gold as a model of the Eiffel Tower. See more »
When Otto shoots at Ken in the steam roller a central support bar for the steam roller's canopy blocks the shot from hitting Ken. Then when subsequent images of the steam roller are shown there is no central support bar. See more »
Nice fish, Ken. You know what Nietzsche said about animals? "They were God's second blunder."
Well, you t-t-t-tell him from me that I kuh-kuh, I kuh-kuh...
See more »
At the very end of the closing credits is the word FIN -- which is how French films say THE END, but in English a "fin" is a part of a fish. See more »
This is the only film I ever paid to see two days in a row. I missed too much of it the first time because of my own hysterical snorting laughter.
This is a work of comic genius. And, like any good film, the screenplay is at the heart of the belly laughs. Every character is given a detailed personality quirk or two, and then it is shamefully exploited for laugh after laugh. Note for example, John Cleese's speech to Jamie Lee Curtis about how awful it is to be British - the eternal fear of embarrassment. Moments later, he is caught buck naked in a marital tryst in some else's flat by the people to used to live in his own home. Also, the funny-offensive envelope is pushed to the limit when K-K-K-Ken (Michael Palin), the passionate animal lover inadvertently kills three innocent dogs in his attempt to murder an old woman who would otherwise be a prosecution witness. Now that's funny!
Cleese's character, Archie Leach (Carey Grant's real name) is a likable buffoon of a lawyer, happy in his banal existence until he meets the sexy American, Wanda (Jamie Lee). I cannot even being to describe the plot beyond that point without doing it a grave disservice. It twists and dangles about in a world of double-cross and goldfish-eating for no other reason than to set up a joke.
You cannot speak of this film without mention of Kevin Kline as Otto, a role that won him a richly-deserved Oscar. Otto is the ex-CIA "weapons man" who makes it his business to read philosophy but would be more at home with Curious George. An obsessive, self-indulgent, painfully stupid, violent, deceitful, gullible egomaniac, the character of Otto is amongst the best comedic performances ever delivered.
The film's funniest scene takes place at Leach's (Cleese) house. In a scene that rivals anything that has ever hit the screen for laughs, the film and its scripts looks deep enough into itself to even give Cleese's dry-as-toast wife a laugh or two. Then, later on, this scene proves to be the set up for even more jokes. A Fish Called Wanda is pure comedy and every scene either provides a laugh or sets one up - it graciously does not waste our time trying to be moral or turning into a formula car-chase flick.
My comments are choppy but so is this movie. If you see it and don't laugh, check your pulse. We have only been given a handful of good comedies in the last decade. A Fish Called Wanda is a treasure. **** out of ****.
NOTE: TBS and some other TV networks show this film with the "offensive language" edited out. It kills the movie - if you can't hack the language, pass this one over.
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