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"Fierce Creatures"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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John Cleese has said something to the effect that we should only make sequels to truly horrible movies so that the second doesn't suffer by comparison. Everyone will be comparing the delightful "Fierce Creatures" to the brilliant "A Fish Called Wanda", although it is not actually a sequel. It just features the same starring cast of Michael Palin, John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline. "Fish" was the second most successful British film ever made, and Kline took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1988. In "Fierce Creatures", Kline is playing a dual role of father and son, media mogul and idiot child. Kline (Dad), a Rupert Murdoch-Ted Turner type, acquires a zoo and sends the officious Cleese to change it into a profit center. Curtis, a corporate climber, and Kline, as the lecherous son, arrive to insure that a twenty-percent profit is made. Since Kline (Dad) believes that "danger sells", all the cuddly creatures - meerkats, lemurs, coatis, maras and baboons - are to be disposed of and only the fierce will remain. Of course, the zoo-keepers, led by Palin, rebel.

"Creatures" is sexy, sweet and silly. So what's the problem? This non-sequel just isn't as mean-spirited as "Wanda". British comedy is not nearly so kind-hearted as American. That's what we like about it! Ab Fab fans know that Patsy and Eddie have no redeeming qualities, and we love them anyway. That's why we still watch Cleese's "Fawlty Towers". When everyone starts going all mushy over the zoo animals, I couldn't help but remember how audiences raved over the number of pet dogs snuffed in "Wanda". Rated PG-13. Universal.

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