Synopsis by Mark Deming
The starring cast of the hit A Fish Called Wanda reunited for this farcical comedy, which star and co-screenwriter John Cleese described as "not a sequel, but an equal." When London's Marwood Zoo is purchased by Octopus, Inc., the multi-national holding company run by New Zealand publishing tycoon Rod McCain (Kevin Kline), the staff is given a firm order: if the zoo is not turning at least a 20% profit soon, it will be shut down. Willa Weston (Jamie Lee Curtis), who was recently hired by McCain to oversee another firm that bit the dust, is assigned to keep a watchful eye over zoo director Rollo Lee (Cleese), who gets the idea that since people seem to enjoy aggressive, violent entertainment at the movies, the zoo should round up and execute all the cute, benign animals and replace them with more vicious specimens to boost attendance. Needless to say, talkative zookeeper Adrian "Bugsy" Malone (Michael Palin) is appalled at this suggestion and attempts to disguise the more timid beasts with fake fangs and daubings of artificial blood. Meanwhile, Rod and his son Vince (also played by Kevin Kline) want the animal displays to be more spectacular, and they hope to boost income by introducing corporate sponsorship with logos pasted on the cages, the staff uniforms, and even the animals themselves. An already complex situation is further tangled by the efforts of Vince, Rod, and Rolo to seduce Willa, whose obsession with the bottom line is compromised by her fondness for the gorillas. Fierce Creatures was originally shot in 1995, but when the original version tested poorly, producers John Cleese and Michael Shamberg opted to reshoot part of the film (most notably the ending), with director Fred Schepisi replacing Robert Young for the revised sequences.
zoo, business, profit, animal, con/scam, zookeeper, parent/child-relationship, scheme