A Fish Called Wanda [Review 36 for FQ13]


Why I Saw It: This was a film which I’ve been aware of since it hit VHS 24 years ago, but I was way too young at the time to watch it at that point. It’s something of a classic, but only when you’re talking in terms of “Classic Kevin Kline Movies” or “Classic John Cleese Movies”, not in terms of “Classic 80’s Movies”. Because of that, it’s not something that hit my radar to a significant degree when I was old enough to appreciate it. I happened to see that it was playing on the EPIX channel, but because it was already halfway through, I decided not to watch at that point, but it did stir up enough interest to look for it through Netflix.

What Was It About?  “In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to double-cross each other for the loot.

Rating: 7.7 out of 10

Memorable Performances: This film featured a great performance from Kevin Kline, with a character interesting enough to be as memorable (or more) than his other great performances. It was memorable to see Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed as a sexual object, which I’m not accustomed to seeing her portrayed as, other than in Trading Spaces and (to an extent) True Lies.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Actor – Kevin Kline

Favorite Parts: Any of the following:

  • John Cleese realizing that he’s standing fully naked in front of a family who is rightfully standing in a living room with him.
  • Interrogation through “fishing”.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis being seduced through the use of a foreign language

The Regrettable Aspects: There weren’t any aspects to the film that made it in-enjoyable overall, but at times the plot did seem a bit too complicated, and it wasn’t clear exactly what Jamie Lee Curtis’ character’s actual intentions were.

Would I watch it again? I would, but I won’t seek it out. It was entertaining enough for another viewing.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  I’d recommend it to anyone who likes Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and/or John Cleese.

Other Recommendations:

FIERCE CREATURES – I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve been told it’s the “non-sequel sequel” to A Fish Called Wanda, due in large part to the fact that the four lead actors are the same and both films are written by John Cleese.

DAVE – for my money, it’s the greatest performance in Kevin Kline’s career… from what I’ve seen, anyway.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to A FISH CALLED WANDA, or for other similar films, let me know!



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