Fierce Creatures

  • Review Date: March 15, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Some funny moments peppered with lots of sexual innuendo.
  • Review Date: March 15, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Age(i)

2
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Viewers get much food for thought on corporate greed and the pressure of being profitable at all costs.

Positive role models

Rollo starts out trying to meet his 20 percent profit margin at all costs, but sees the error in his ways, often with help from the caring and conniving zoo staff. Willa also comes to see the animals as more important than profits. Rod and Vince McCain are caricatures of the distant and powerful mogul and his do-nothing idiot son, and they stay that way.

Violence

The audience and a horrified zoo staff are led to believe that five animals are shot by Rollo and then buried. One man is shot by accident and killed, and a number of characters (including a lemur) brandish guns either to falsely subdue animals or threaten others. Zoo staff fakes injuries from animals and Rollo tastes blood of one real injury to claim it's a fake. Plus an accidental stab wound in the leg.

Sex

A very, very long-running joke about how Rollo must be having orgies (with zoo staff and, once, a sheep), but each time there's an innocent explanation. Willa is set upon by Vince McCain nonstop, who strips down to his underwear, asks if her breasts are real, and keeps propositioning her. Zoo staffers strip down to their underwear to find a rogue tarantula. Rod McCain is heard behind closed doors shouting "yes! yes!"

Language

One "f--king hell," and a smattering of everything else: "s--t," "hell," boner," "bitch," "t-ts," "boobs," "slut," "dammit," "kick ass," "bastard," "Japs," "a--hole," "dicks," "bloody," and "bimbo."

Consumerism

Plenty on display in a few scenes, but all as part of a joke about sponsorships.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking of beer and champagne in a few scenes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this farce with a likeable cast -- all the same folks behind the popular heist comedy A Fish Called Wanda -- really digs into the sexual innuendo with a long-running joke about the main character's supposed wild sex life. Characters get undressed down to underwear and another gets sexually harassed by the boss' son. Violence is pretty mild, but includes gunshots and one unlikeable character dead. The zoo is plastered with sponsorship banners in a few scenes as a nice send-up of corporate greed run amok. Lots of language, including one "f--k."

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What's the story?

After billionaire mogul Rod McCain (Kevin Kline) acquires a zoo, he sends corporate lackey Rollo Lee (John Cleese) to make it 20 percent more profitable or he'll close it down. But Rollo makes some rather public missteps and Willa Weston (Jamie Lee Curtis) is sent in to help. Unfortunately for her, the boss' son Vince McCain (also Kevin Kline) tags along. He's determined to show his father how worthy he is to inherit those billions by dressing the staff as animals and taking on dozens of sponsorships -- even the lion gets dressed in a banner ad that says "Absolut Fierce." He's also determined to win over Willa, but suddenly she's both interested in protecting the animals and starting to have feelings for Rollo as well.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

A couple of Monty Python alums thought up the funny premise of cuddly creatures needing to take on fierce alter-egos to bring in zoo visitors. And that 10 minutes of the movie is downright hilarious. Also pretty funny: Rollo faking the deaths of the animals to look authoritative, and the tacky things Vince does to the zoo in the name of profits (especially the lion dressed up in an "Absolut Fierce" banner). It goes downhill from there pretty fast.

The father-son mogul storyline is given way too much weight, all the sexual innuendo gets pretty tired, and Vince's sexual harassment is much creepier than it is funny. It's great to see the cast of A Fish Called Wanda reunite, but it should have been for a much smarter script. In this digital era, they could have released the 10 minutes of hilarity on the web and left the rest on the cutting room floor.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea that violence sells. Do you like the cuddly animals as much as the fierce ones? What shows get the most hype on Animal Planet?

  • What about all the sponsorships at the zoo? Do you notice them at your zoo, or at the baseball stadium? Where are they the most plentiful?

  • What are your favorite comedies, and how do you decide which ones to watch? Do you look for funny actors, like John Cleese, or story lines that sound funny?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 24, 1997
DVD release date:June 1, 2010
Cast:Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, Kevin Kline
Directors:Fred Schepisi, Robert Young
Studio:Universal Studios
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Wild animals
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:for sexual innuendo and language.

This review of Fierce Creatures was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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