31 March 2011

31 March - "Do you have any idea what it's like being English?"

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
dir. Charles Crichton
John Cleese (Shrek 2 (voice), 2004)
Jamie Lee Curtis (My Girl, 1991)
Kevin Kline (Wild Wild West, 1999)
Michael Palin (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)
Stephen Fry (Alice in Wonderland (voice), 2010)

This is a good movie. I think it's very funny.

I could probably end my review there. I have a lot of work to do tonight.

No, I'll tell you about it. I guess the real brilliance in this movie is how you've got two classical British humorists, Cleese and Palin of Monty Python's Flying Circus, balanced out by the American's Kline and Curtis, so if you're like me and never really for Monty Python or British humor in general, it's okay because Kevin Kline is hilarious in a very accessibly-American way and although Jamie Lee Curtis has never really been a comedienne, she's plays her part negotiating between all these extreme personalities very well.

The humor is mostly situational. A lot of it revolves around this theme of British people being very proper. My favorite part is when John Cleese, a worn-down barrister, is about to be seduced by Jamie Lee Curtis, the femme fatale, and she's upstairs and he's naked downstairs and this family walks into the "flat" and he's buck-naked and they just sort of exchange pleasantries like it's the thing to do. It's very droll.

The other great bit is when Michael Palin's character is trying to kill this old woman because she's a witness, but he keeps killing her little dogs by mistake. And he gets so upset because he's killing the dogs, and then when he kills the last one by accident again, the old woman's heart gives out and she dies and he laughs and laughs and laughs.

So, it's a heist movie, which is always good. And nobody trusts each other and everyone is lying. There are many layers of intrigue which only add depth to the situational comedy.

There's a sequel of sorts called Fierce Creatures. A sequel insofar as the plot and characters are entirely unrelated but the cast is the same. Same deal as Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. As in that case, the second attempt is not as brilliant as the first, but Fierce Creatures is still pretty funny. So there it is.

Better analyses when I'm less stressed out.

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