Fierce Creatures is occasionally funny, but more occasionally stupid
Okay, so I'm not a big fan of John Cleese, but when I do watch him, on Fawlty Towers, I can't help but laugh. He is very funny, and he is very funny in this movie. Fierce Creatures could have been one of those great, hilarious movies, but instead it turns out to be a forced comedy, with way too many sexual innuendos, but some of those innuendos are the funniest parts of the movie. The only problem is that the supporting cast, besides Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, are very weak and almost destroy the movie.
Of course, the movie isn't about those supporting characters, and Thank God that it isn't. Whenever those other characters came on, I usually sighed in disgust because I knew that it was going to be stupid. And it was. In possibly the funniest scene of the movie, and the funniest sub-plot, Cleese is on the phone with Curtis and Kline. He has hidden five un-fierce creatures in his house. While he is on the phone, he has to fight the animals and get them off of his bed. On the other end, Curtis and Kline listen in and hear, what they think, is a womanizer having some big orgy party. It's a very funny sequence, of which there are more instances like it.
The only problem with this is that the main plot relatively sucks. I wasn't interested in it, and didn't care about it. The only thing that was remotely funny was the end scene where Kline has to pretend to be his father (played by Kline as well). I thought it was hysterical, especially when he gets tissue caught in his fly and has to have a female member of the staff yank it loose. Trust me, it's funnier than it really sounds. Normally, I don't like movies that have "fart" jokes in them, but this is one of the exceptions. There are several scenes where the father will fart and burp and other various forms of releasing pressure, and believe me, I never laughed so hard.
However, in between those moments when you laugh so hard, are moments of boredom where I wondered if I wanted to stay in the theater. I'm pretty glad I did, but it was really pushing it during the scenes when Curtis and Kline are together. I really couldn't stand Kline for the first half of the movie, but he got better as the film went on. One thing that surprised me was that Kline played both Vince McClain and Rod McClain. I don't quite know how they did it, and I wonder how they had the comic timing with both of them in the frame at the same time. I didn't know until after the movie, when the credits started rolling, that it was Kline playing both of them. That's what good special effects are: when you don't know that it is an effect.
Since Cleese wrote this movie, I saw a lot of similarities to Fawlty Towers. In fact, one of the big laughs in the movie is directly out of Fawlty Towers. I had watched the same episode of Towers just a day before I went and saw Fierce Creatures. Cleese is sitting at his desk and reaches behind him to get a book and accidentally grabs Curtis' breast. I laughed, not only because it was funny, but because it was making fun of Fawlty Towers-- or else, it was stealing from it. However, since it was stolen, it made me feel that Cleese couldn't come up with something original, and that made me question his ability to write comedy.
For me, most of the blame goes to the directors, and it had TWO of them. Robert Young and Fred Schepisi just don't seem right for this movie. They should have gotten the director from A Fish Called Wanda to do it, because that movie was very funny. As for the cast, Cleese is very funny and his comic timing is great. Curtis is terrific as well, and she holds her own among this mess. Kline, on the other hand, shows a weak performance, nothing like his performance in Wanda. I think that the directors thought running around wildly with no direction is funny, but this movie proves that it isn't true. I don't think it was Kline's fault for his performance, because he probably did what the directors told him to do. So, for me, shame on those stupid directors.
Fierce Creatures is rated PG-13. It mostly has sexual innuendo, and some language as well. That's pretty much all that's in this movie, but there is some mild violence. When Fierce Creatures is funny, it is very funny. When it isn't, it's pretty dull. And that's pretty often. But if you are a fan of Cleese, Curtis, and Kline, you might want to check it out. Otherwise, go see Mother or rent A Fish Called Wanda.
**1/2 out of ****
Reviews by Boyd Petrie