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Fierce Creatures

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PG-13
1997

Fierce Creatures is a zany and rib-tickling 1997 comedy directed by Robert Young and Fred Schepisi. It casts John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline in lead roles crafting charmingly funny characters soaked in the spirit of slapstick comedy.

The film situates John Cleese as Rollo Lee, a former Hong Kong police officer who is roped into managing a dilapidated and financially unstable English zoo, Marwood Zoo, owned by eccentric billionaire Rod McCain, hilariously portrayed by Kevin Kline. With no real experience in running a zoo, Rollo has his work cut out for him from the very start. The task turns tricky when Rollo is given an unusual brief by his boss. The misinterpreted directive from Rod, a calculating mogul with a slew of media companies, is to make the zoo more profitable by only keeping fierce creatures that are likely to attract more visitors.

As he attempts to implement this bizarre 'fierce creatures only' policy at the Zoo, he faces a barrage of resistance from the dedicated and affectionate zookeepers who wholeheartedly adore their homely collection of harmless animals. This droll conflict forms the foundation of the movie and leads to a series of delightful shenanigans as Rollo navigates through his managerial misadventures.

Significantly adding to the comic chaos is Jamie Lee Curtis playing the role of Willa Weston, a former executive in Rod's company. She is initially sent to evaluate the zoo's profitability but eventually grows attached to the quaint English zoo. Curtis's character brings in an element of unpredictability in the plotline as she forcefully finds her footing in the male-dominated administrative sphere of the zoo and shakes things up.

However, the real comic dynamite of the movie is Kevin Kline in a dual role, also playing Vince McCain, Rod's dim-witted son. Vince's arrival at the zoo, as he masquerades as the 'new manager,' grants an entirely new dimension to the comic fiasco.

The interactions, misunderstandings, and shambolic attempts to get the zoo profitable provide a rollicking journey filled with laughter, heart, and unexpected turns. Through the comedic narrative, the movie subtly broaches issues of corporate greed, media influence, conservation ethics, and the unconventional definition of 'fierce.'

John Cleese's intensely deadpan performance as the beleaguered zoo manager is whiskey-neat, and his attempts at assertiveness provide some of the best comic moments of the film. Kevin Kline's portrayal of the pompous billionaire mogul and his not-so-bright, passion-driven son is the ice that tops the comedy cocktail, whereas Curtis as the feisty executive-turned-zoo lover brings in the refreshing slice of lime to the mix.

The pack of amusing supporting characters, including zookeepers, animals, and quirky corporate executives, led by a snooty flamingo-caretaker wonderfully played by Michael Palin, add to the splendid humor. Fundamentally, Fierce Creatures is a chucklesome circus of engaging characters played by a remarkable cast bundled up in precarious situations.

Schepisi and Young's sharp visual direction and the cast’s slapstick humor pack quite a punch and make Fierce Creatures an enjoyable watch for those who love a good dose of comedy. The movie is kinetic, the pace rapid-fire, and laugh-out-loud funny in its finest moments. Fierce Creatures uses its distinctive setting and bizarre premise as a launchpad for a cascade of hilarious over-the-top physical comedy and witty dialogue – recalling the spirit of classic farces while infusing it with modern eccentricity and a zippy energy.

In conclusion, Fierce Creatures offers viewers a delightful romp around the zoo combining situational and character driven comedy. In its funniest moments, the movie turns up the ludicrous slapstick to the maximum, providing a laugh riot that resonates long after the credits roll. The film is a delightful and light-hearted exploration of what happens when commerce intersects with conservation and the outcome is downright hilarious.

Fierce Creatures is a Comedy, Romance movie released in 1997. It has a runtime of 93 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 62.

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6.4/10
62/100
Director
Robert Young,Fred Schepisi
Stars
John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Ronnie Corbett, Carey Lowell, Robert Lindsay
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