In a barrel

Sadly, in the It has been a long time since I saw a decent comedy and, despite having seen three of the latest offerings, I’m still waiting. With the recent spate of comedies that mistake lewdness for genuine humour, I can’t help but wonder: are 13 year-old boys running Hollywood these days??

Having sat through more than my fair share of crappy films of late, and in a market awash with unimaginative sequels or remakes, I found myself pining for the days when comedies were charming and, dare I say it, funny. So I thought about some of those classic comedies that have stayed with me over the years and one of the standout films is this month’s recommendation...
Shooting Fish was released in 1997, pitting it against the likes of The Full Monty, Austin Powers and Oscar winning comedy As Good As It Gets, so it’s of little surprise that it passed many people by. Although it lacks big box-office success to recommend it, this little off-the-wall, popcorn comedy is a delightfully entertaining 109 minutes. It’s clever and original, the characters are thoroughly likeable and the performances are very fine especially Futterman as charismatic, fast talking Dylan and Townsend, the quieter genius Jez. I really enjoy the inventive ploys the boys come up with not only to retaliate against an adversary or fleece the rich and undeserving, but even to evade phone bills!

I recommend a bowl of popcorn, good company and spending a night in with this one.

So what should you get?


DIRECTOR: Stefan Schwartz (The Best Man)

CAST: Dan Futterman (A Mighty Heart, Judging Amy), Stuart Townsend (Queen of the Damned, About Adam), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Serendipity)

PLOT: Two orphans, Dylan and Jez, are successful con artists hoping to finance a home for themselves. They enlist the help of temp, Georgie, who immediately cottons onto their scam and is intrigued enough to agree to assist them again. But Georgie has her own agenda and it could spell the ruin of the modern day Robin Hoods.


Note: Shooting Fish is currently only in limited release in Australia.

For more slightly askew comedies see:
  • Election
  • Death at a Funeral
  • American Beauty
  • Go
  • Grosse Point Blank
During filming, animal rights activists showed up, not realising that the title is not literal but an idiom referring to a guaranteed enterprise i.e. ‘shooting fish in a barrel’. They left somewhat embarrassed.
While Dan Futterman may be best known for his roles in "Judging Amy" or as Charlotte's effeminate pastry chef boyfriend candidate in "Sex and the City", he also wrote the screenplay for Academy Award winning film Capote!

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