with John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin
Written by John Cleese and Iain Johnstone
Directed by Robert Young and Fred Schepisi
by Scott Hefflon
The cast of ’88’s A Fish Called Wanda reunites in a zoo. There they try not only to turn a profit, but to match Wanda‘s brilliant comedic timing. While they fail at both, Fierce Creatures is still definitely worth watching. Jamie’s jugs nearly tumble out at every turn, but never do. Cleese tries to take control, but never gets it. Kline plays a dual role as father and son, each a bastard in his own way. And Michael Palin continuously recites statistics of the animal world at the most inopportune of times.
There are laughs galore, both clever one-liners and outlandish situations, but there isn’t enough plot, enough tension, to match Wanda. Where Wanda had deranged killers, and proper, self-loathing Brits, Fierce Creatures has capitalist greed, and love of warm, fuzzy animals. Luckily, there are rampant sexual misunderstandings, did I mention Jamie Lee’s breasts?, and, unlike many movies’ fumblings of the topic, Fierce Creatures is able to pull off a character’s change of heart without drowning in sentimentality. Jamie Lee wants to be a fierce creature in the business world, but has a bonding moment with a gorilla. I’ll leave it at that. Cleese fumbles through Business Management 101, trying to execute difficult decisions, finding that he leads best when being human. Palin never evolves beyond the hopelessly babbling animal-lover, and aside from a few scenes, he’s just a talkative pain in the ass. Kline plays a glorious prick – greedy, selfish, arrogant, and very Americanized. While he never finds any Zen-like peace, love, and compassion for his fellow man, at least he inherits a lot of money. And that seems to be enough for him.