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Fierce Creatures (1997)
Rated PG13

Starring: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline

Rating:
****
out of
*****

John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin were part of A Fish Called Wanda, a hilarious comedy that begged the question of whether or not there'd be a sequel. Well, Fierce Creatures reunites the cast, but it's not a sequel. In fact, it's a much funnier and entertaining movie.

The plot centers around an English zoo, which has recently been purchased by Rod McCain (Kline). McCain's one of those corporate raiders that buy companies to downsize them and halve the quality of the product so they can earn money to buy another company and do the same thing to it. McCain's idea to make the zoo profitable is to take that element of TV that's so successful -- violence -- and apply it to the zoo by removing all of the harmless animals and playing up the fierce creatures. (Hence the title of the film.)

The first person charged with the responsibility of making this plan work is Rollo Lee (Cleese), who fails to win over the zoo employees' support. Seeing a chance to move up in McCain's company, new employee Willa Weston (Curtis) takes over the zoo and demotes Rollo. McCain's loser, wacko son, Vince (Kline in a dual role), accompanies her to England and finds himself at odds with what he perceives as Rollo's lower-class manners.

Willa finds Rollo attractive, and possessing a sexual prowess that's not quite real, due to a series of hilariously misperceived situations. She has to fend off Vince's advances while trying to attract the attention of Rollo, who struggles to remain in control of his libido.

However, Vince is also trying to gain attention from his father. He proceeds to sell corporate advertising all over the zoo, which provides some priceless sight gags and a good ribbing at the expense of the sponsors.

I can't really get too specific about any of the situations in the movie without giving away some of the best bits. There's always something going on in the background, so a second viewing of this movie might unveil more laughs. There's plenty of them to go around on the initial viewing though.

Fierce Creatures is a truly intelligent and funny film that never makes you regret laughing at it. Highly recommended.

Trivia: Cynthia Cleese, who plays Pip Small Animals, is the daughter of John Cleese. She also appeared in A Fish Called Wanda. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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