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The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

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

Director:

Jon Amiel

Writers:

Robert Farrar (novel), Robert Farrar (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Murray ... Wallace Ritchie
Peter Gallagher ... James Ritchie
Joanne Whalley ... Lori
Alfred Molina ... Boris 'The Butcher' Blavasky
Richard Wilson ... Sir Roger Daggenhurst
John Standing ... Gilbert Embleton
Simon Chandler ... Hawkins
Geraldine James ... Dr. Ludmilla Kropotkin
Anna Chancellor ... Barbara Ritchie
Nicholas Woodeson ... Sergei
Cliff Parisi ... Uri
John Thomson ... Dimitri
Janet Henfrey Janet Henfrey ... Ms. Goldstein
Terry O'Neill Terry O'Neill ... Spenser
Isabel Hernández Isabel Hernández ... Consuela (as Isabel Hernandez)
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Storyline

American Wallace Ritchie (Bill Murray) gets a ticket for an audience participation game in London, England, 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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bill Murray is the Man who Knew too Little See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Watch That Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,604,819, 16 November 1997

Gross USA:

$13,801,755
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

Dr. Ludmila Kropotkin's name is nonsense in Russian. According to grammatical rules, Kropotkin is supposed to be a male whereas Ludmila is a female name. See more »

Quotes

Boris 'The Butcher' Blavasky: Who you are working for?
Wallace: Blockbuster Video. Des Moines, Iowa.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Flat Earth & Other Hot Potatoes: Episode #1.22 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Hully Gully
Written by Fred Smith and Clifford Goldsmith (as Cliff Goldsmith)
Performed by Tommy Kinsman
Courtesy of Mercury Records Ltd.
By Arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Classic comedic timing, hilarious plot, solid cast and good writing...yes, see it!
30 October 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

There are those who think Bill Murray can do no wrong, that he has an impeccable comic flair and intelligence that drive even mediocre fare. And I'm one of them.

And this is relatively humdrum stuff on one level--though the basic idea of spoofing a spy superstar is as old and reliable as James Bond himself. (I mean, Bond spoofs were around when Sean Connery was still 007.) And the writing is really very witty here, giving two prongs forward in this mostly funny, always fast affair.

That is--I laughed a lot! That's the goal. The cold war themes of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. going head to head were old even in 1997 but of course not old for James Bond, and this does harken back somehow to the original. Murray plays a classic type--the hero who succeeds by accident. Often, it's the absurdity and illogic of this odd hero that makes him successful, surprising the professionals and seeming brazen and original. And so he is.

The plot is simple--some bad guys have a bomb that's going to go off in five hours. We know that at the start, and so the rest is loaded with anticipation and dread as the deadline nears. We also know (in this sort of movie) that no harm will come to Murray's cheerful, doltish American type. So the race against the clock is a series of gags and spoofs and lucky twists, all good for laughs. Murray is the key to it all, playing the naive participant with that uncanny timing and innocent face too well, over and over. If it were only about Murry this would be a 10 star masterpiece. The rest of the cast, and the eventual inevitability of the plot, hold it back, though. So it is what it is, still a great romp.

You want more than that? You won't get it. But why would you? Enjoy.


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