Title: The Man Who Knew Too Little
Director: Jon Amiel
Original Release: 1997
My Overall Rating: 2 stars out of 5
They can't all be winners. Generally, we do pretty well with our Family Movie Night picks but every once in a while, a stinker. I take full responsibility for this one. It has its moments, and we'll get to those, but The Man Who Knew Too Little is a fine example of a high-concept film gone awry.
The title is a spoof on Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much but the plot is actually closer to North by Northwest. Bill Murray plays the part of Wally, a goofy, well-meaning American who pays a surprise visit to his brother in London. Through a series of misunderstandings, Wally is mistaken for a hitman involved in an espionage conspiracy. To complicate matters further, Wally is not aware of the mistake. Madcap adventures ensue.
As mentioned above, the film is not without redeeming qualities. The opening credit sequence - a lost art in 21st century cinema - is very nicely done. Bill Murray is dependably funny and the rest of the cast is adequate if not spectacular. In hindsight, I might have picked a different film to introduce Our Girl to Murray's work but he is amusing. There's a fun Russian folk dancing scene just before the story's climax.
The trouble lies in narrative development. I'm generally alright with plot complexity but I decided fairly early on that I didn't particularly care what happened next - never a good sign. Wally's naïveté could be endearing if executed properly but in the end, I was just disappointed in him. Interest wavered for all three of us throughout.
Better luck next time, Squid.