Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

There is no doubt -- John Cleese is a funny guy, although he has his occasional misfires (most recently his animated works "Shrek Forever After" and "Planet 51.") Here he is not "Fawlty Towers" funny, but still manages to amuse and entertain, and he is backed up by a great cast, including Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline as a psychotic pseudo-intellectual dolt with a preference for mangling Nietzsche.

   Manipulative Wanda (Curtis), stuttering animal lover Ken (Palin), nutcase Otto (Kline) and George, the one with the plan, all aspire to rob a jewelry store. Wanda, who is fiddling with all the men's emotions, and Otto, her incompetent lover, decide to double cross George and steal the diamonds, but George anticipates their move, and entrusts the key to the safe to Ken.

   Enter Archie Leach (John Cleese,) a repressed barrister stuck in a boring marriage to an unlikable shrew, and defending George when an "anonymous tip" (AKA Otto) results in George's arrest. Meanwhile, Wanda decides to seduce Archie to get information from about George's case, and Ken attempts to kill a witness to the heist, with unexpected consequences.

   This movie features the crew that did "Monty Python," which divides audiences depending on their sense of humor. Not a fan of Python's deliberately ridiculous, absurd sense of humor? Never fear. "A Fish Called Wanda" shares little in common with it, and benefits from humorous characters and sequences.

   It's not for kids, but the violence here is more comic than disturbing, save for one scene (pictured below) that may prove to be more troublesome than funny. Honestly I didn't find it bust-a-gut-funny, but all the actors give great comedic performances, and the twists and turns will leave you laughing.

Overall, "A  Fish Called Wanda" is a funny 80's comedy, incorporating that droll British humor to achieve comedic goodness, if not greatness. Worth a watch for the oddball near-genius of it. Recommended.


  1. It's been a while since I saw this but this movie is such a hoot!! The cast is great and they all brought their comedic A-game here, nice review Steph!

  2. I really liked this movie because the story went in ways I wasn't expecting. I agree that it's not a laugh out loud movie but it did keep me smiling

  3. Just seeing the name John Cleese and Michael Palin already makes me want to see it. The story sounds fun too. Noted it down to my MUST search list.
    Thank you for this review, Sarah :)

  4. This is one of my favorite comedies. The cast is hilarious, but Kevin Kline is even funnier. Love this film.

  5. Glad you liked this! A Fish Named Wanda is one of my favourite comedies.


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