A Fish Called Wanda

fish_called_wanda

★★★1/2

The plan is to steal diamonds. The schemers are Otto, Wanda, George, and Ken. Otto is an intellectual hitman. Wanda is a seductive con artist. George is a cunning gangster. And Ken is George’s assistant who has a stutter.

The heist unfolds smoothly. Or so it seems, until George realizes that he has been double crossed by his team and gets arrested by the police. And to complicate matters, Otto and Wanda don’t have the diamonds they thought were in hand. Where could it be?

Thus begins a laborious quest for the precious stones. Otto and Wanda go into George’s apartment and attempt to seduce Ken as a distraction. That’s because the key to George’s safe is supposedly inside the aquarium. Yet after all their scrambling efforts, it is not there. The diamonds have incredibly found its way into a necklace that is with the clueless Archie Leach (John Cleese), the barrister for George.

Much of the comedy lies in the desperation to find diamonds. The quest involves a lot of mischievous tricks and slapstick that steers with either incompetence or clumsiness. Deception is handled by Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) who seduces Archie to get the necklace but later falls in love with him. And Archie is fooled for some time but later also falls for Wanda.

Otto (Kevin Kline) and Ken (Michael Palin) are very funny with their own quirks. The former isn’t as knowledgeable as he seems and Leech has a series of comical scenes where he tries to get rid of a witness and fails three times. Directed by Charles Crichton, the film is fun, farcical, and riotous. It’s an elaborate comedy based on unexpected occurrences.

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