A Fish Called Wanda (1988)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5

USA/United Kingdom, 1988.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Prominent Features, Star Partners Limited Partnership.  Story by , Charles Crichton, Screenplay by John Cleese.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Americans  and Kevin Kline participate in a London jewel robbery with two other people, then stiff their companions in an attempt to run off with the loot.  After they’ve turned in their main accomplice (), they discover that he moved the jewelry they stole before he was picked up by the police and is the only one who knows where it is. The fourth member of their team, an animal lover with a problematic stammer ( in a hilarious performance) isn’t able to give the couple the information they need, so Curtis decides to go straight to the source. She makes friends with Georgeson’s barrister (, who also wrote the screenplay) and seduces him, all the while trying to keep mentally unstable Kline’s jealousy from ruining her every attempt to achieve her goals. Upon its release this film was highly celebrated as a pinnacle of comedy achievement, with much praise for Kline’s capricious, heavily-improvised performance, the script and the direction by Charles Crichton, here making his first feature in years after decades working on television. It has staled a bit in the years since, however, with Kline coming off a bit too mannered, the rest fun and easy to watch but hardly extraordinary. Curtis comes off the most enjoyable, with Cleese doing wonderful work (and enjoying some sexy chemistry with the lady), while steals every scene she’s in as Cleese’s priggish, painfully British wife.

Academy Award:  Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Kline)
Nominations: Best Director (Charles Crichton); Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (John Cleese); Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Jamie Lee Curtis)


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