Why is 'A Fish Called Wanda' funny?

A Fish Called Wanda. Image shows from L to R: Archie Leach (John Cleese), Wanda Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis), Otto West (Kevin Kline), Ken Pile (Michael Palin).

A Fish Called Wanda

A black comedy film starring John Cleese and Michael Palin. A con artist uses her female charms to steal a stash of jewels

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Dave

  • Tuesday 16th February 2010, 6:43pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 1,172 posts

Can someone tell me? I've seen it three times, and I've never laughed once.

'Fierce Creatures', on the other hand, I thought was hilarious and very underated.

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chipolata

  • Tuesday 16th February 2010, 6:48pm
  • England
  • 30,083 posts
Quote: Dave @ February 16 2010, 6:43 PM GMT

Can someone tell me?

Good script. Well acted and well directed. Although if you didn't like it once, why watch it twice more?

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Aaron

  • Tuesday 16th February 2010, 6:48pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,713 posts

It's difficult to define why something's funny. It just is. The ridiculousness of most of it.

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Lee

  • Tuesday 16th February 2010, 6:52pm
  • Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
  • 36,349 posts
Quote: Dave @ February 16 2010, 6:43 PM GMT

Can someone tell me? I've seen it three times, and I've never laughed once.


"You've seen it three times, and you've never laughed once".

:D

Ithankyoooo...

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Nogget

  • Tuesday 16th February 2010, 7:46pm
  • England
  • 6,620 posts
Quote: Dave @ February 16 2010, 6:43 PM GMT

Why is 'A Fish Called Wanda' funny?


Kevin Kline, mostly.

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john lucas 101

  • Wednesday 17th February 2010, 9:09am [Edited]
  • England
  • 7,098 posts

Fierce Creatures? Hilarious? Are you having a giraffe?!

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chipolata

  • Wednesday 17th February 2010, 9:58am
  • England
  • 30,083 posts
Quote: john lucas 101 @ February 17 2010, 9:09 AM GMT

Fierce Creatures? Hilarious? Are you having a giraffe?!


And sadly, I have a feeling that was Michael Palin's last acting role before he became Joe Travelogue.

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Dave

  • Wednesday 17th February 2010, 3:12pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 1,172 posts
Quote: chipolata @ February 17 2010, 9:58 AM GMT

And sadly, I have a feeling that was Michael Palin's last acting role before he became Joe Travelogue.


Actually, he did Around the World In 80 days just after Wanda, and then Fierce Creatures just before Full Circle. The day before he was supposed to be in Alaska for Full Circle, he was filming the cupboard scene in Fierce Creatures with John Cleese and Carey Lowell. Filming was halted for eight months as he went and did the documentary.

There are some real laugh-out-loud moments in Fierce Creatures, with Kevin Cline very much in Steve Martin mode.

Quotes:

Cleese: It's an anteater, not a maneater.
Robert Lindsay: What would you be saying if it went over there, jumped into that pram? What would you be saying to the child's mother now?
Cleese:: I'd be saying, "Madam, you are the victim of an 8 billion to one chance: a leaping anteater. An evolutionary mutant previously unknown to science."

Kline (to Cleese): I don't like you. You're weird and unattractive.

Cleese: Mr. Sylvester Stallone did not get where he is today by playing in Jane Austen.

Kline (pointing to a tortoise): If it died, would we know? My grandmother's grave is more attractive!

Secretary: Have you had any experience with animals?
Cleese: Well, I've eaten a few, you know.

Cleese: What do you suggest we do with the dead body of the incredibly famous man, who you have just... ASSASSINATED?

(quotes from Internet Movie Database)

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john lucas 101

  • Wednesday 17th February 2010, 3:15pm
  • England
  • 7,098 posts
Quote: chipolata @ February 17 2010, 9:58 AM GMT

And sadly, I have a feeling that was Michael Palin's last acting role before he became Joe Travelogue.


Michael Palin's a great actor. We've lost many good years of Palin acting while he's been backpacking/getting the crew to carry his bags.

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Geffers

  • Friday 19th February 2010, 1:30pm
  • England
  • 126 posts

I'm with you on this - I didn't like "Wanda" very much. It just seemed annoying, but if it was saved at all it was by Palin. Fierce Creatures was better IMHO, but still a bit iffy in places.

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bob4apples

  • Saturday 20th February 2010, 5:24pm
  • England
  • 135 posts

Good script. Well acted and well directed.

Ditto. Wanda is recognised as a great British comedy film, had global success and won an Oscar plus 2 other nominations.

Fierce Creatures on the other hand is a poor follow up. Check the reviews for both. Or tell me a British comedy that has come close to it since.

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chipolata

  • Saturday 20th February 2010, 11:14pm
  • England
  • 30,083 posts
Quote: bob4apples @ February 20 2010, 5:24 PM GMT

tell me a British comedy that has come close to it since.

It is a great film, but Four Weddings And A Funeral and Shaun Of The Dead match it in terms of quality.

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Kenneth

  • Saturday 20th February 2010, 11:35pm
  • Australia
  • 5,426 posts
Quote: chipolata @ February 20 2010, 11:14 PM GMT

It is a great film, but Four Weddings And A Funeral and Shaun Of The Dead match it in terms of quality.


I can still happily rewatch A Fish Called Wanda after multiple viewings. I haven't wanted to watch Shaun of the Dead a second time, but I probably wouldn't mind. Whereas I would never again sit through the pap that is Four Weddings and a Funeral. Not only because I find Andie McDowell and Hugh Grant terribly annoying, but also because I think it's crap, although it does have Charlotte Coleman.

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Aaron

  • Sunday 21st February 2010, 5:48pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,713 posts
Quote: chipolata @ February 20 2010, 11:14 PM GMT

It is a great film, but ... Shaun Of The Dead match it in terms of quality.


You, Sir, are a mentalist.

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chipolata

  • Sunday 21st February 2010, 7:57pm
  • England
  • 30,083 posts
Quote: Aaron @ February 21 2010, 5:48 PM GMT

You, Sir, are a mentalist.

Who knows his comedy onions! IMHO Shaun's a classic that will still be highly thought of in fifty years time.