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4.5 out of 5 stars104
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 9 June 2005
To make a comedy that can be lauded with the comment 'absolutely hilarious' isn't an easy thing to do. It's not so difficult, however, when you are one of the funniest men on god's green earth; and the extremely talented John Cleese has certainly managed to write a fine piece of comedy here. Teaming up with Monty Python buddy Michael Palin and Ealing studios director Charles Crichton, these talented comedians have managed to create a film that is most certainly one of the funniest; laugh per minute and lasting hilarity when it's over, movies ever made. The plot is taken straight from the classic Ealing comedy era (no wonder it works so well) and it follows four crooks that have stolen a bunch of jewels and now decide to double cross one another to take the loot solely for themselves. The plot thickens when the female of the bunch decides that the best way to get the loot would be to get close to a grassed-up co-conspirator's barrister; John Cleese.
Aside from an inch-perfect screenplay, A Fish Called Wanda also benefits from a fine cast of actors to deliver it. John Cleese steals every scene he's in, as you might expect, and he more than justifies his reputation as one of, maybe even the, finest British comedy actor ever. He is joined by a talented pair of Americans; Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis, along with, as mentioned, his fellow Python Michael Palin. Kline is certainly one of the most underrated actors working today, and his comic timing in this movie is right on the money. Makes you wonder how much better he could have been used over the years. "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis also does well in the title role; and Michael Palin obviously knows his way round a comedy script. The jokes in the film come thick and fast, and I can't think of a single one that didn't work. It's the big gags that are the real stand out of the movie, though, and one in particular that sees Kevin Kline trying to explain to Cleese's wife what he's doing in their home is absolutely priceless. I nearly fell of my chair laughing. This film is a must see.
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on 2 July 2011
I imagine for many people it won't matter at all, but for some of us, it's crucial - so to avoid anyone else wasting their time as I did, here's the details of the audio and subtitles which are actually available on the DVD:

Soundtrack:
English (5.1), German (5.1)

Subtitles:
English, German, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian

Really quite different from what is listed on the item description, which will hopefully be corrected soon.
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If you want a very funny film, with lots of deep belly laughs, and some more subtle jokes thrown in too, watch this film. If you want a plot that with more intriguing twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction, watch this film. If you want a romantic comedy involving lust, passion and toenail clippings, watch this film. Maybe you just love animals, or Monty Python, Kevin Kline or Jamie Lee Curtis. Anglophiles and Anglophobes could equally be entralled by the diversity offered in this rare gem of a film. I am yet to meet anyone who has not enjoyed this film. (Well, appart from Yorkshire Terrier devotees, but I feel that they may be in a minority) If have not already done so, watch it now. Just go with me on this one - you won't regret it.
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on 29 August 2012
THIS REVIEW IS PURELY TECHNICAL

Amazingly funny film, but let down by the awful print they have used for the transfer.

Dust spots and hairs throughout. I really don't know where they kept this print (my guess is a dog basket)

Hopefully there will be a better copy one day, until then AVOID
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on 24 February 2014
Whilst the film itself is still excellent, the transfer to Bluray is poor. The film does not look like it has been cleaned up at all for Bluray.
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on 2 January 2015
I'd seen this classic comedy a few times when it first came out in 1988 but hadn't seen it for years, and fancied seeing it again, so I bought the Blu-ray. It's still great fun. Four criminals - two Brits (Michael Palin and Tom Georgeson) and two Americans (Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline) - plot and carry out a jewel robbery in London, but then start to betray each other. Meanwhile, a British barrister (John Cleese) stuck in a loveless marriage becomes involved with the woman of the gang. And don't forget the fish called Wanda, which plays a very important part in the action. This is a comedy-thriller-romance-farce, and an updated version of an Ealing comedy; it's even directed by Charles Crichton, the acclaimed Ealing director who came out of retirement to direct this. Lots of great culture-clash humour between the British and American characters, John Cleese and Michael Palin are at their comic best, Kevin Kline won an Oscar as the psychotic Otto, who's not nearly as clever as he thinks he is (Otto, that is, not Kline!), Tom Georgeson seethes with menace, and Jamie Lee Curtis is one step ahead of everyone else. See it and enjoy!
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on 13 August 2010
This is a very well written and often very funny film which doesn't let-up for a second. Cleese, Palin, Kline and Lee-Curtis are magnificent as Precarious, Sexy, Disconnected and Chaotic (you can probably match them up if you've never seen this film before). The fact that two are American and two are English gives the film a clashing, tasty quality that I can't remember seeing anywhere else. Though never all in the same room at the same time, they all rub up against each other at some point in brilliantly positioned scenes that frequently have me in stitches.

The roots of this film come from the old English comedies of the 1950's but this is firmly set in the 1980's within the very ordinary and everyday. This all adds to the charm beneath the madness. Gone in 60 Seconds this is not - more bumbling motorbikes than shiny super cars and it is all the better for it.
Standouts are too many to mention but I would have to say that Kevin Kline's Otto steals just about every scene he bursts into. He adds more than a bit to the out-of-control element throughout what feels like a series of set-pieces. All useful set-pieces though which flow together as one shimmering crime caper. Not a second is ever wasted.

It has been said that someone died of laughter while watching this. If I was to die while watching anything, A Fish Called Wanda would be perfect. Classic English humor with an American twist, this continues to be my favorite comedy of all time.

* 2 disc SE extras: audio commentary with John Cleese / 'Something Fishy' documentary / deleted and alternate scenes with John Cleese intros / 3 featurettes / easter eggs / photo gallery / trailer *
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on 31 January 2014
Wanda brings her secret lover, Otto to England to help her and her lover George and stuttering animal lover Ken steal $20 million in diamonds.

Wanda and Otto then turn in George to the police so they can have the loot for themselves, but George has already moved the diamonds and only he knows where they are.

All four of the criminals start double-crossing each other to try to get to the diamonds before anyone else.

Wanda tries to find them by "getting close" to George's barrister, Archie Leach, because if George pleads guilty he will tell Archie where the diamonds are to cut his sentence......

The thing about TV celebrities turning their hand at comedy, is always a very risqué one. For every Wanda, we have a Wilt, True Identity, Boys In Blue, Alien Autopsy, Morons From Outer Space, Guest House Paradiso...you get the picture.

The Pythons have made films like this before, but with all the garbage released in-between, one couldn't help but worry a little.

The film is hilarious, from the old age comedy of the class war, to simple stuff like name calling and mocking, the film rarely takes a step wrong.

Cleese is perfect as Leach, the man who has it all, except guts and happiness. This man is the epitome of middle class males, all mouth but no trousers, and Cleese gets it down to a tee. Kudos to Palin, who plays the typical working class villain with an unfortunate tick.

But the film is stolen by Kline, a career best performance and really worthy of the Oscar, when ever Otto is on screen, the rest may as well sit back, they haven't a chance with Kline.

It's well written, charming, funny with a little devilish streak running down its back for good measure.

A perfect example of why British humour was and always be the best.
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on 7 September 2012
A Fish Called Wanda is one of those films that you will not mind watching again some weeks later. It has such a good plot, and so many funny lines that you will end up memorizing some of them.
Kevin Kline is Otto, an American criminal who fancies himself as an intellectual, and believes among other things that the London underground is a political movement. Michael Pallin plays a naive crook with a speech problem and an excessive love for his fish Wanda.
Wanda is also the name of Jamie Lee Curtis' character, the sexy two-time Wanda, who is certainly the smartest of them all.
The three crooks team up with George Thomason to rob diamonds in London. It works pretty well, except for the fact that they cannot trust each other, and the loot disappears.
Another actor to shine in this brilliant movie is John Cleese playing a gullible lawyer who is seduced by Wanda.
The film was a hit when released in 1988 bringing more than the deserved recognition to its actors. It is also considered one of the best comedies and British movies ever made.
The script written by John Cleese and Charles Crichton brings more than a heist-comedy, but a plot full of turns that will keep you entertained from beginning to end.
If you are one of those few people who did not like Monty Phython and believes that Cleese and Pallin probably ended up turning the film into one of their shows; consider giving it a try, you will be in for something completely different.
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on 16 January 2015
Charles (Ealing) Crichton’s swansong proved to be a riotous black comedy with a host of star turns – it even features a very youthful-looking Stephen Fry in an early role. Based around a diamond-heist perpetrated by an eclectic bunch of villains – including Tom Georgeson’s menacing mastermind George, Kevin Kline’s buffoonish gun-lover Otto, Jamie-Lee Curtis’ lissom Wanda, and Michael Palin’s stuttering fish fanatic Ken. Completing the cast is John Cleese as browbeaten lawyer Archie, who falls in love with Wanda and becomes caught-up in the mayhem that ensues when George is framed by Wanda and Otto and put on trial.

Memorable scenes include Otto torturing Ken by stuffing hot chips up his nose and eating his pet fish one by one; Archie dancing naked for Wanda and being surprised by the new tenants of the flat they are in; and the final act set in Heathrow airport. It’s fair to say however, that the movie is simply one great scene after another, and with all the cast at the top of their games, this remains a true British comedy classic – despite the musical score and some key cultural shifts, feeling a little dated.
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