A Fish Called Wanda (1988) ★★★★☆

There are plenty of films that I haven’t seen, many of them were released before I was born, so I am using the anniversary of the film’s release as an opportunity to watch them. First up, is this British comedy classic, which is celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary…

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) ★★★★☆
Humpo Show Rating | 8.4
IMDb Rating | 7.6
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson
Director: Charles Critchton
Plot Summary: In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot. (IMDb)

Image result for a fish called wanda film

A Fish Called Wanda is fantastically British comedy film, that has an airtight plot, and the jokes are timed and delivered perfectly. This is perhaps in part to the great cast that is involved with the film: Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, Michael Palin, and Kevin Kline. The film centres around the four aforementioned actors who are involved in a bank robbery, and the conniving and backstabbing by each that takes place afterwards. The comedic material in this film comes from a variety of avenues; the clash of British and American cultures, Ken’s (Palin) mishaps, Archie’s (Cleese) British humour, Wanda’s (Lee Curtis) wit, and Otto’s (Kline) stupidity.  

Jamie Lee Curtis is great as the title character who is determined to back-stab and double-cross anyone and everyone in order to get the loot and fly away to a more exotic climate and life. John Cleese’s reserved and sexually repressed English gentleman character, Archie, is too scared to go out and live his life- until he finds himself mixed up in this brilliant game connected with the missing loot. Michael Palin as Ken the hit-man/animal lover/severe stutterer who must kill a key witness in order to protect his boss is exceptional. There can’t be many funnier scenes than the ones where Ken must kill this prosecution witness.

Kevin Kline’s performance as Otto, a role that seen him win a richly-deserved Oscar, is absolutely fantastic. Otto is the ex-CIA “weapons man” who is a painfully stupid, deceitful, and a gullible egomaniac. He has some brilliant lines that had me laughing out loud- I couldn’t stop laughing when I was included the quote below, and the two gifs where Otto is pretending to fancy Ken. His absurd and jealous behaviour towards Archie makes for some memorable moments.

Otto West: Look, you obviously don’t know anything about intelligence work, lady. It’s an X-K-Red-27 technique.
Wendy: My father was in the Secret Service, Mr. Manfredjohnsonjin, and I know perfectly well that you don’t keep the general public informed when you are “debriefing KGB defectors in a safe house.”

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………. A Fish Called Wanda is a wonderful, laugh-out-loud film that is full of memorable quotes, hysterical characters, a plot that is chockablock full of twists and turns. The film is close to 2 hours long, but the plot is so clever and well structured that it’s over before you know it.

5 thoughts on “A Fish Called Wanda (1988) ★★★★☆

    • It seemed like such a short film, with so many jokes jam-packed in.

      It seems everyone is in consensus about Kline- not often a comedic performance wins an Oscar!

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