Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson, Geoffrey Palmer, Stephen Fry
Written by: John Cleese, based on a story by John Cleese, Charles Crichton
Directed by: Charles Crichton
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 108
Date: 07/07/1988

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Don't Call Him Stupid

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Not every summer movie is a big action movie or a slapstick comedy. Sometimes you get sophisticated, dry humor like this incredible movie from former members of the Monty Python team. Jamie Lee Curtis plays a sexy American criminal mastermind -- also called Wanda -- who must get close to a foppish barrister, Archie Leach (John Cleese), to discover the location of some stolen diamonds. Michael Palin plays Ken, the owner of the title fish, who may also have some information. Kevin Kline plays Curtis' lover, the cocky, brash, well-dressed and hilariously stupid Otto ("Don't call me stupid!"). The screenplay by Cleese is perfectly polished and endlessly hilarious, and the astoundingly tight, snappy direction is by Charles Crichton, a legendary veteran of the English Ealing studio comedies of the 1950s. Amazingly, although comedies -- especially summer comedies -- are routinely ignored by the Oscars, A Fish Called Wanda earned a Best Supporting Actor award for Kline, and nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay.

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