The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

PG  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  14 November 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 22,870 users  
Reviews: 99 user | 34 critic

Wallace Ritchie is mistaken for a spy and must stop a plot to assassinate international leaders at a banquet.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Boris 'The Butcher' Blavasky
Gilbert Embleton
Dr. Ludmilla Kropotkin
Barbara Ritchie
Cliff Parisi ...
Janet Henfrey ...
Ms. Goldstein
Terry O'Neill ...
Isabel Hernández ...
Consuela (as Isabel Hernandez)


An American gets a ticket for an audience participation game in London, then gets involved in a case of mistaken identity. As an international plot unravels around him, he thinks it's all part of the act. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's on a mission so secret, even he doesn't know about it. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language, innuendo, comic violence and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Watch That Man  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,604,819 (USA) (14 November 1997)


DEM 573,393 (Germany) (5 June 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie that Consuela is watching in the kitchen is Copycat (1995), also directed by Jon Amiel. See more »


When Wally first points the revolver at Lori, you hear a sound as though he is cocking the hammer, but the revolver he is holding is a hammer-less model. There is no hammer to cock and make this sound. See more »


Wallace: [Wallace is being shot at] Time out! Time out! I got something in my eye, jagoff!
See more »


Spoofs Dirty Harry (1971) See more »


Yeh Yeh
Written by Jon Hendricks, Grant Rogers, Pat Patrick
Performed by the Mark Wirtz Orchestra
Copyright of TKO Licensing
Licensed courtesy of RPM Records, Ltd. (U.K.)
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny if slight
6 September 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Wally Ritchie flies from America to visit his brother in London for his birthday. However James has a business meeting and needs Wally out of the way for the evening. He books Wally onto a new murder-evening style experience where you get to play the character of an secret agent or the like. However Wally answers the wrong phone call and is mistaken for hitman Spenser. Following the instructions of the call, Wally becomes involved in a plot to start the cold war again by killing a mix of Ambassadors. Blissfully unaware Wally sets out to foil the plot.

This is one of those films that I'd kept meaning to see for ages but never got round to it. So when I finally did I maybe had too high expectations for it. So for the first 20 minutes I was a little impatient and was bothered that I wasn't really enjoying it or laughing very much. However once I got past this I relaxed and started to enjoy it.

The plot is mush and even if you take it seriously, all the pieces don't fit together and the plot doesn't make a lot of sense. However ignore all this plot nonsense – this is all about Wally stumbling from one misunderstanding to another lucky occurrence. We're not in the realms of classic comedy here and it certainly isn't hilarious. Rather it's funny and enjoyable – in that, even when I wasn't smiling I still had a fixed grin on my face.

Murray is the film's saviour. He stumbles around so very well and makes even the most basic misunderstanding funny. Gallagher is a passable straightman and Walley-Kilmer is decent but really suffers from having to share a screen with Murray. A fleet of British faces make up the rest of the cast – from Molina, Wilson, Woodeson to the sublime John Thomson and faces like Dexter Fletcher and `that guy offa Family Affairs'. To be honest it's all a bit distracting having so many `oh, that's ……' and you do have to try and get past it.

Overall this isn't the funniest thing you'll ever see, but it is enjoyable and will make you smile for 90 minutes, even if the belly laughs are less often than you'd like. Murray runs the show and brings laughs out of the least inspired routines. Well worth a watch if you're in a silly, undemanding mood.

24 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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