A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

A Fish Called Wanda

Dir. Charles Crichton, 1988

It starts as a simple plan: four criminals stage a bank robbery in London, but when the English mastermind (Tom Georgeson) is turned in by his American partners (Kevin Kline and Jaime Lee Curtis), and they can’t find the loot, Curtis must seduce Georgeson’s lawyer (John Cleese) to find out where it is.

Curtis has been in a lot of great films, but always seems to be the least interesting part of them, and A Fish Called Wanda is no exception. Michael Palin’s stuttering animal nut is grating, although he does get some payoff at the end. Interestingly, Kevin Kline received a rare comedy Oscar for playing against type as a vicious, trigger-happy Anglophobe with a stupid hat, and it’s a role he makes the most of, but real credit should have gone to John Cleese, who joyfully stumbles through each comedic setpiece with his trademark awkward dignity. B-