A massive corporate conglomerate, Octopus Inc., run by a shrewd and cruel tycoon named Rod McCain, purchases a UK-based leisure company, and also the failing London Marwood Zoo. To bring more business to the zoo, Octopus hires a new manager, Rollo Lee, who promptly comes up with a way to increase profits-do away with all the animals except for the ferocious ones. This new Fierce Creatures Policy shocks the Marwood zookeepers, led by the unendingly talkative Adrian "Bugsy" Malone. Eventually, Rod McCain's son Vince, along with the up-and-coming business executive Willa Weston, take control of the zoo and revoke the Fierce Creatures Policy. Vince instead comes up with many under-handed and vicious schemes to attract customers-unauthorized celebrity endorsements, shoddy, overpriced zoo merchandise, and using robotic animals instead of real ones. However, Vince is also stealing from the zoo's funds, and when his father finds out, he rears to turn the zoo into a Japanese-owned golf course.... Written by
Josh Martin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you like "A Fish Called Wanda," you'll probably get a kick out of this farce, in which an Australian magnate sends two Americans to a British zoo to make it turn a profit. The bad guys are Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, and John Cleese, at least until Curtis and Cleese fall for each other.
Cleese intends to make money from the zoo by offing all the cuddly little animals and replacing them with "fierce creatures." The tree huggers who run the zoo and love all the animals try to convince the dim-witted Cleese that the cuddly things are in actuality deadly when provoke, telling him tales of people who have torn to shreds by an angry lemur and other nonsense.
Cleese is persuaded not to kill the animals but he advertises them all as Dangerous to Man and, to boost profits, drags in merchandising in various forms. A fully grown Bengal tiger wears a kind of table cloth advertising Absolute Vodka with the logo Absolute -- FIERCE. A brand new panda is installed but it's a robot and all it can do is slowly raise and lower its head.
Other absurdities abound, some funnier than others. Curtis, wearing a very low-cut dress and a smile, bends down to pet a coati mundi or something and the distracted Cleese mutters, "Yes, that's one of our breast mammaries -- er, best mammals." The whole set-up is in a way a distraction. Everything seems to rush by. People fall down. It's a little exhausting and lacks some of the earnest wit of "A Fish Called Wanda." There is no line here that's the equivalent of, "The philosophy of Buddhism is not 'every man for himself.'" Still, it has some laugh-out-loud moments, at least for me. I think the one I enjoyed most appears near the end. Kevin Kline has been playing the grasping and nasty Australian billionaire with a farcical Australian accent, and also playing the billionaire's son. The elderly billionaire shows up at the zoo, discovers the fraud and confronts his son, whom he holds responsible. Says the ruthless magnate, "The last words you'll hear from me is --" A shot rings out from off screen and a bullet hole appears in the Australian's forehead. Without any change in his expression and after only the slightest pause, he continues, "you're fiiirrred." But his voice has slowed down and become baritone, like a tape recorder with dying batteries. Holding the same angry posture he slowly flops backwards to the grass, a mannequin, evoking images of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad.
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