Friday, October 15, 2010

I love robbing the English, they're so polite. - Otto in 'A Fish Called Wanda'

Who recently said ‘Life does not imitate art, Life imitates bad television!’ (Woody Allen, of course). Imagine if the eccentricities of a single person are to be the focal point of a movie, then it would be nothing but hilarious and ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ has heightened focus on the eccentricities of several individuals – an animal lover with a stutter – Ken(Michael Palin), a Nietzsche loving stupid American – Otto(Kevin Kline in his Oscar winning performance), a woman who would seduce the pope for money –Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) and lastly a stiff upper lip English lawyer, Archie (John Cleese).

And the eccentricities do not stop there, Otto hates being called ‘Stupid’, Wanda gets into a passionate tumble whenever a man speaks Italian and Ken loves his fish so much that he names one of them as ‘Wanda’.

There are many things in ‘A Fish called Wanda’ that makes you laugh, and the thing that most tickled my funny bone was a character named ‘Otto’.
I was so smitten by him that I wished that he was the one sitting next to Wanda on their final flight to Rio instead of Archie.

Otto and Wanda, two American petty thieves, are engaged by British henchmen George and Ken to help in robbing a bank. After the heist, Otto and Wanda rat on George to the police. But George has his tracks covered by hiding the loot. Wanda attempts to seduce George’s English barrister, Archie in an attempt to discover the hidden loot.
What follows is a series of goofy events involving Archie and Wanda and her possessive lover, Otto.

Some of the best jokes are Wanda’s takes on Otto’s stupidity,

Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape? Otto West: Apes don't read philosophy.
Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

Otto makes fun of Ken and his love for animals, he says

“Nice fish, Ken. You know what Nietzsche said about animals? "They were God's second blunder."

and Archie for being so ‘snotty, stuck up, intellectual British faggots’

The screenplay by John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) makes it one helluva laugh riot without it being on the face slapstick.

Here I would like to stop and pose a question: ‘There is a link between this movie and two of my other movie posts’ Can you take a shot at what they are? I promise to give away virtual prizes :)


Arvind Swarup Pathiki said...

wild guess... Annie Hall and Some Like it Hot? they are the only 3 comedies that you have written about till now and they form the troika of favorite comedies?

Deppe said...

Finally, a movie I have watched. I have a lot of favorite scenes in that movie but one that cracks me up each time is when Cleese's character takes a last cheapshot at Otto (whose feet are stuck in wet concrete) by taunting that America lost in Vietnam, and Otto replies "Hey! It was a draw".

Chimera said...

@asp - it is not Annie Hall, yes Some Like it Hot but you are absolutely wrong about the association.

@Deppe - Yes, i remember that very well. he says 'It was a tie' :D
Otto was hilarious!