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Fierce Creatures

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Kevin Kline’s still a dolt, Jamie Lee Curtis a flirt, John Cleese a Fawltyesque bumbler, and Michael Palin a PETA pusher with a speech problem. Otherwise, A Fish Called Wanda‘s star quartet (plus Maria Aitken, who played Cleese’s wife, Wendy, in the 1988 film) botch a promising recipe. The concept — how far will a zoo go for big profits? — would seem to invite the unhinged mayhem that made Wanda wonderful. But save for Kline’s dexterous double duty as a pompous New Zealand tycoon and his American son — exploited in a climax reshot before the film’s winter release — Fierce Creatures is held captive by this straining foursome and by dialogue that’s curiously lacking in comedic snap. For a study in the sporty ease these actors are capable of, cleanse your palate with a revisit to Wanda. B-

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