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A Fish Called Wanda
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Fish Called Wanda More at IMDbPro »

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114 out of 131 people found the following review useful:

One of the best (and most underrated) comedies of all time

Author: Cpartak from United States
8 March 2005

Before I review this film, I want to mention that I've seen it about ten times and have yet to stop laughing at any of the jokes. This is one of the best written and acted comedies that I've ever seen. The plot is airtight, and the jokes are perfectly timed and delivered. This is due in large part to the spectacular cast of the film. Jamie Lee Curtis, Johh Cleese, Michael Palin, and my personal favorite Kevin Kline as Otto the moronic ex-CIA agent who's too stupid to realize that he's stupid. The film centers around the four aforementioned actors who are involved in a bank robbery, and the conniving and backstabbing by each that takes place afterwards. A large portion of the comedic material in this film comes from the mixture, or more precisely clash, of British and American cultures. Kevin Kline's portrayal of Otto the red-blooded American with entirely too much ego and confidence is contrasted perfectly by John Cleese's reserved and in Otto's words "sexually repressed" English gentleman who is too scared to go out and live his life. Jamie Lee Curtis is also great as the title character who is determined to back-stab and cross anyone and everyone in order to get what she wants. Finally, there's Michael Palin as Ken the hit-man/animal lover/severe stutterer who must kill a key witness in order to protect his boss. If there are any funnier scenes than the ones where Ken must kill this witness, I haven't seen them. Palin is absolutely brilliant, easily one of the best comedic performances ever. The film is close to 2 hours long, but the plot is so clever and well structured that it's over before you know it. To me, that is one of the trademarks of a great film. You don't want this movie to end, and you're disappointed when it does. Do yourself a favor and watch A Fish Called Wanda and you will wonder why you haven't seen (or in many cases even heard of) this film before.

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101 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

The Funniest Movie Ever Made

Author: DanB-4 from Canada
31 May 1999

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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64 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

The Kevin Kline Show!

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
30 April 2005

Brief and simple: this movie is terrific entertainment! With its uniquely eccentric characters and delightfully absurd storyline, 'A Fish Called Wanda" unquestionably is one of the funniest films ever made. The exhilarating screenplay works on so many level (a diamond heist gone wrong, Brits vs. Americans, romantic comedy...) and the top-notch cast obviously had an excellent time doing this film-job. There's not a dull moment throughout the entire movie and every sequence contains at least two or three hilarious moments. The humor is very over-the-top at times but, what the hell, it remains a joy to behold. The cast is nearly perfect with John Cleese, Michael Palin and Jamie Lee Curtis at their absolute best. Still, there's one actor who deserves extra praise for his role here and that's Kevin Kline. His hyperactive, deranged and extravagant character Otto is one of the most brilliant roles in comedy cinema ever! His moves, grimaces and monologues will make you fall off your seat laughing. Kline won an Oscar for his role and, everybody who has seen "A Fish Called Wanda" will agree on the fact that this was a well-deserved price.

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59 out of 86 people found the following review useful:

Perfect comedy.

Author: Peach-2 from Netherlands
6 December 1998

This is one of the funniest films I have ever seen. The film is so well put together that time flew on by and I was sitting there wanting more. This movie is perfectly cast and well directed. There is no real style to the direction, but when you have a script like this all you need to do is point the camera and let it rip. I would like to point out that if you haven't seen this movie yet, check it out for Kevin Kline's performance alone. It is one of the best comedic performances you will ever witness. Great movie.

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38 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Molto pericoloso, signorina, molto

Author: Shaolin_Apu from Seinäjoki, Finland
6 June 2005

'The Fish Called Wanda' and 'Some Like It Hot' are the two best comedies that I have ever seen. They're both very unique films and represent one complete story and manage at same to be devastatingly funny films. They don't need sequels because they are both 'perfect' in their own right. I have seen these films so many times but they always surprise me again and again when I find out how good they are.

'The Fish Called Wanda' is not only well made but also happens to be funny. I call this movie 'the best', which may sound ironical, because Cleese and Palin have even been more funny as Pythons. Also ironical is that Jamie Lee Curtis says only one joke (Aristotle was not...) in the whole film. Kevin Kline is hysterically funny without one-liners and slap-sticks. It is the overall situation that makes the film complete. This is to say, that the film is not at all stuck up with gags but has absolutely right timing for every event. This feature makes the film even better than anything what Monty Python and the Marx Brothers have done. Or at least reaches the same level with them. This film proves that a movie can kill you in laughter using only everyday realism.

A Masterpiece from John Cleese, who proves here that he can be funny even without Pythonity. He actually did the same with 'Fawlty Towers', but as a single film is this the very best. It just works.

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39 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely brilliant comedy

Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
27 April 2005

To make a comedy that can be lauded with the comment 'absolutely hilarious' isn't an easy thing to do. It's not so difficult, however, when you are one of the funniest men on god's green earth; and the extremely talented John Cleese has certainly managed to write a fine piece of comedy here. Teaming up with Monty Python buddy Michael Palin and Ealing studios director Charles Crichton, these talented comedians have managed to create a film that is most certainly one of the funniest; laugh per minute and lasting hilarity when it's over, movies ever made. The plot is taken straight from the classic Ealing comedy era (no wonder it works so well) and it follows four crooks that have stolen a bunch of jewels and now decide to double cross one another to take the loot solely for themselves. The plot thickens when the female of the bunch decides that the best way to get the loot would be to get close to a grassed-up co-conspirator's barrister; John Cleese.

Aside from an inch-perfect screenplay, A Fish Called Wanda also benefits from a fine cast of actors to deliver it. John Cleese steals every scene he's in, as you might expect, and he more than justifies his reputation as one of, maybe even the, finest British comedy actor ever. He is joined by a talented pair of Americans; Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis, along with, as mentioned, his fellow Python Michael Palin. Kline is certainly one of the most underrated actors working today, and his comic timing in this movie is right on the money. Makes you wonder how much better he could have been used over the years. "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis also does well in the title role; and Michael Palin obviously knows his way round a comedy script. The jokes in the film come thick and fast, and I can't think of a single one that didn't work. It's the big gags that are the real stand out of the movie, though, and one in particular that sees Kevin Kline trying to explain to Cleese's wife what he's doing in their home is absolutely priceless. I nearly fell of my chair laughing. This film is a must see.

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29 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

something's fishy (in a good way)

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
24 October 2006

Portraying a heist gone awry, "A Fish Called Wanda" goes all out in every way possible. Maybe the whole thing is little more than an excuse for a bunch of silly situations, but they have some great ones here. Whether it's John Cleese's dance, Kevin Kline's rips at England, Michael Palin's stuttering, or Jamie Lee Curtis's deadpan performance, they know how to do everything here. I can't describe how funny the movie is; you just have to see it. And you may very well die laughing - or if nothing else, you'll want to take a trip to England. Kevin Kline definitely deserved his Oscar. And of course, the cast teamed up again for the equally funny (maybe even better) "Fierce Creatures". This is a comedy classic in every way.

Oh, and in case Kevin Kline is reading this: Happy birthday! You're my favorite actor!

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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

One of the funniest movies I've seen.

Author: T-Mac ( from Sydney, Australia
10 July 2000

When four people team up for armed robbery then all try to keep the whole lot for themselves, hilarity follows. The humor in this film is clever and constant, never letting up for a minute. Watch especially for Kevin Kline's performance of Otto, it's one you'll remember for years to come. His attitude and his character suit him so well. His contrast with John Cleese's Archie Leach is phenomenal. A must see for all. Brilliant film.

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30 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Excellent caper comedy with a perfect cast

Author: funkyfry from Oakland CA
28 August 2003

This is one of the best, if not THE best, caper comedies of the modern era. The writing is very witty and at the same time sometimes turgid. The cast is absolutely perfect; Cleese makes a great subdued lawyer who wants to be a bad boy, Curtis is wonderful and just keeps you guessing (as perhaps her own character is guessing, as to what it is SHE wants), and Kline is perfectly annoying as the Nietzsche-quoting American. This movie has strong shades of "The Big Sleep" and other Howard Hawks comedies, even going so far as to name Cleese's character "Leach" in honor of Cary Grant.

This film should appeal to those with no classic movie knowledge, but for those who have seen "To Catch a Thief" and other caper classics, this is even more of a treat. Romantic, funny, and slick.

Also big ups to Michael Palin for another memorable supporting performance.

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27 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Film! Very Funny!

Author: Dale Barnard from Western Australia
26 December 1998

A Fish Called Wanda is my favourite movie of all time and always will be. John Cleese has written this masterpiece very cleverly, his best best writing piece since Fawlty Towers. Kevin Kline, who won an Oscar for his role in the film, is excellent as the looppy, arm pit sniffing Otto, and is my favourite in the film. Michael Palin is also brilliant as the stuttering Ken. John Cleese, in a role rather different to Basil Fawlty and his Monty Python characters, plays the lawyer Archie Leach fantastically. But the movie is all around Jamie Lee Curtis' Wanda, who is an American thief, after diamonds that she, Otto, Ken and George (Tom Georgeson) stole. In order to get the diamonds, Wanda has a fling with just about everybody. The movie will leave you in suspense wondering who will get the diamonds. Along the way, there are plenty of funny lines and gags, especially from Kline. A top movie. Watch A Fish Called Wanda, don't skip it. A++++

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