SFC12: A Fish Called Wanda

Well hello there friends!  Won’t you come in and enjoy a nice warm cup of Summer Film Challenge 2012:  Apocalypse Edition with me?  It’s just like mom used to make! 🙂  Welcome back friends. This week we embark on a different journey than what most of the films I have done this year have taken us on and enter the full blown realm of comedy.  This was another film that I had my eye on for some time now and so I was very excited to see this 1988 classic:  A Fish Called Wanda.

One word sums this film up:  Funny.  No, wait.  HILARIOUS.  Employing and extolling that great, dry, British wit with just a dash of Monty Python-esque schtick, this film is exceedingly funny.  Perfectly cast, the film keeps plot to a minimum in favor of sticking with the laughs (both good and bad).

First and foremost, this was the best cast film I have seen in a long time.  Every member of the team fits their role perfectly.  John Cleese is funny as always in his trademark confused and hen-pecked guy.  Michael Palin shines with a p-p-Pitch p-p-Perfect Stutter and those hilarious faces he makes, and despite the fact that he was relegated to the C plot, he managed to make a predictable set of events really fun and interesting.  One of the biggest breakouts for me was Kevin Kline, who absolutely stole the show.  His antics as the pseudo-intellectual, jealous hitman made him so endearing, and clearly the Academy felt this because they gave him a Best Supporting Oscar for his role.  Just don’t call him stupid.  Trust me…

But the real star of the film is Jaime Lee Curtis who blew it out of the park!  I was so glad to see her give a really mature performance, as my only experience with her has been through her campy “hip” mom thing in Freaky Friday, her scared and unattentive young self in Halloween, and modern JLC in those Activia commercials. 🙂  Her characterization as the lusty and clever Wanda united all of the other cast as the wily “smart guy” amongst a bunch of idiots.  She absolutely nailed it and I loved every second of her performance.

The one critique I do have for the film is that it does lose focus on the plot as it gets further into the mayhem of the hilarity.  I found myself at times asking “What is this about again? Why are they doing this?”  However, I don’t think this detracts much from the film because it is so funny, and I feel that the filmmakers chose to work with minimal plot in order to maximize the laughs which ultimately payed off nicely.  However, it still must be noted that the plot is a little convoluted at times and thus I suggest you stay in the moment and enjoy that rather than trying to go back and figure out what is going on exactly.

Ultimately, A Fish Called Wanda is a really great film that packs in the humor – the dry British kind as well as some good old fashioned schtick.  With some out-of-the-ballpark performances and writing that clearly gets what it wants to do, this film should be high on any comedy lover’s list.

Rating:  9//10

Me as I watched this film (Yes. With Eyepatch)

Boom!  Eleven films done and another 5 on the way.  I am currently a bit backlogged on reviews so…don’t tell anyone….but I have actually seen another 3 films already and have just had those reviews on the back burner for a while.  So, let me know what you thought of the film or the review and be sure to check out the SFC12 Podcast below, where I review this film and Ryan takes a crack at Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.

Up next I will be hoping back into the world of the classic and handling a film I certainly wasn’t prepared to handle.  So, join me again soon when I will review the second of my Kline Double-Feature – Sophie’s Choice.


Author: Tyler D. Welch

Filmmaker, Storyteller, Scholar

One thought on “SFC12: A Fish Called Wanda”

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