" What does B-stroke-78352 mean to you? "
— Michael Palin, Brazil

MRQE Top Critic

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Lara punches a shark, rides a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China, and dives off a skyscraper —Matt Anderson (review...)

Jolie fits nicely into Lara Croft's boots

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The marketing for Fierce Creatures invites comparison to A Fish Called Wanda. Head to head, Fierce Creatures does not compare well. The main cast is the same, Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Michael Palin all star in both. But I got the feeling that this movie was rushed through production. The music seemed shallow and irrelevant, almost a monaural afterthought, and a few scenes dragged on a bit too long, as if the directors were trying to use as few locations as possible. One sequence in particular struck me as lingering too long; first McCain Jr. (Kline) and Willa (Curtis) talk about their non-relationship in front of a gorilla exhibit, then Willa leaves and Rollo (Cleese) shows up for a scene with McCain Jr. The whole sequence might last 4 or 5 minutes, and in a hyperactive comedy such as Fierce Creatures, the pace suffers noticeably.

Another example of why Creatures is not as funny as Wanda is that Creatures seems too timid — too afraid to go over the top. Wanda made even the death of a puppy dog hilarious by overplaying the drama to the point of absurdity. In contrast, in Creatures, there is a scene where a character is shot in the head. Rather than picking up the pace and making the scenario even more absurd, there is a pause, a slowing of the pace which made me wonder whether I was supposed to find the death amusing or tragic. In a comedy, that sort of response from the audience can be fatal, (no pun intended).

Nevertheless, the movie is very well written and very well acted. Cleese and Curtis turned in particularly good performances. A romance develops between their characters and while the chemistry between them falls a little flat, the individual chemistry that each of them exhibits makes the movie worth watching. Cleese is hilarious with his shy, bumbling Freudian slits — slots — slips. Curtis is excellent as the woman who knows how men think and takes advantage with her wardrobe, her expressions, and her posture.

So even though Fierce Creatures pales in comparison with A Fish Called Wanda, the comedy and the performances make it worth seeing.