John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, co-wrote the screenplay for this hilarious comedy caper along with director Charles Crichton, who also directed "The Lavender Hill Mob." Cleese is totally irreverent and has absolutely no clue as to the meaning of political correctness. Everyone and everything is a target for satire. Cleese also performs here one of the most side-splitting stripteases I have ever seen. I literally doubled-over with laughter!
A twenty million dollar jewelry heist is pulled off in London's Hatton Gardens by four eccentric misfits, two Brits and two Americans. George, (Tom Georgeson), is the ringleader, the man who masterminded the theft. He is the only one who knows where the jewels are hidden. His partners in crime include animal lover, Ken Pile, (Michael Palin), a socially inept bumbler with a stuttering problem. He loves his goldfish, Wanda, (named for the movie's heroine), with the passion most attach to their significant other. Wanda Gershwitz, (Jamie Lee Curtis), is George's girlfriend, who uses her formidable seduction techniques to get what she wants, and she wants all the money! Wanda finagles to bring Otto West, (Kevin Kline), into the gang, telling the others he is her brother - although like most other men in the film, he is her lover. And Kline is brilliant as the manic, Nietzche-reading, ex-CIA agent and Anglophobe. He is a self-styled intellectual, but is so stupid that he thinks the London Underground is a political movement. As Wanda remarks, "He's so dumb he thought the Gettysburg Address was where Lincoln lived."
The ploys, dirty tricks and double-crosses Otto and Wanda use against their partners, to prevent them from receiving a share of the loot, are classic. When George's lawyer, Archie, (John Cleese), falls in love with Wanda, her formidable skills at juggling men are seriously challenged. Cleese brings an endearing romantic touch to the smitten Archie. The situation grows more and more convoluted and the laughs build right along with the escalation. Otto is extremely jealous of any man who looks twice at Wanda, and obviously Archie takes more than two glimpses. Madcap madness!
I don't want to disclose any more of the plot here, but "A Fish Called Wanda" contains some of the funniest scenes I have viewed on film. Director Charles Crichton keeps the pace moving at a nice clip and the satire involving the cultural clash between the very proper, if somewhat stuffy English, versus the uncouth, aggressive Yanks is pure delight. At one point, Archie says to Wanda: "Do you have any idea what it's like to be English? We're all terrified by embarrassment. That's why we're all dead!"
This flaky farce is a must see! A definite 5 star film.