86 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 1999
People can piss and moan about plot and structure and character but when you've got a film like this one you should put those things aside and watch the movie for what it is, a very well done comedy about mistaken identity. The idea may be cliche but with Bill Murray's comic timing and prowess, it doesn't matter if the idea has been used a thousand times. This movie made me laugh from start to finish. Why? Because it is a comedy. If it makes you laugh, its doing its job. Murray delivered a hillarious performance as did Alfred Molina and the old British Bad guy(don't know his name). His brother played by Peter Gallagher was also surprisingly funny in his scenes. A comic gem that should be given more credit.
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2000
First of all....I loved it. Simply put, this film was great. Talk about a story that could have been based upon true life incidents is not what this film is about. This is comedy at its best. Bill Murray's character is a man who manages a Blockbuster-video store someplace in Iowa. Murray decides to take a vacation and visit his brother in London. His brother (Peter Gallagher) is entertaining some important clients that same evening and sends his brother (Murray) out to participate in this audience-interaction play involving spies called the `Theater of Life'. Well, as the play begins, Murray accidentally stumbles into a real-life spy drama and takes everything that happens next as if he is just acting in a play. The result is non-stop humor which leaves the audience busting up outloud. You don't have to love Bill Murray to love this film...he brings to the screen the best parts of his roles in "Scrooged", "Stripes", "Ground Hog Day" and "What About Bob"...you just have to be ready to experience Bill Murray at his best. Bottom line, what might even be funnier than the film, is being part of an uninhibited audience, because once some people begin laughing, they will be at it for the next two hours.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This movie was a real surprise for me and my wife. We rent a lot of comedy movies and have passed this one up a couple of times thankfully having picked it out just recently and now intending to buy it.
Murray plays a very funny underachiever who just so happens to get involved with international intrigue, yet he thinks he is involved in a one night reality TV program. His straight side kick in the movie is Joanne Whalley playing Lori.
Murray is a crack up throughout the film thinking he is in a movie and thinking that all of the spies and diplomats are actors staying in character.....he is the funniest since Groundhog Day in this. I feel he is better than 'What About Bob.'
Peter Gallagher plays his brother and the funniest interaction he has is with an actual police officer where Gallagher, who funded Murray's intended movie romp, thinks he is talking with an actor and as he gets angrier he just gets funnier.
The movie has a lot of funny scenes that I laughed throughout. I thought the first part of the movie was little slow in developing but as soon as he got the call for what he thought was the reality show, things really took off.
I laughed and laughed as he got chased, shot at, tortured and then all through it he thinks he is in a show.
If there is a movie you want to share with friends for a nice fun evening this it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2000
The first time i saw this movie i was in a movie theater and i couldn't stop laughing! I knew that i had to get the tape so i did. It is a little confusing in the very begining but once you see it a second time it makes a lot more sense. It's about Bill Murray's character who is brother's with Peter Gallagher's character. Bill goes to England(where his brother lives)for Bill's birthday. Peter gives him a ticket to "the theater of life"- a performance you play as the main character. In the performance, it takes you around town acting as if it were real life only there are actors everywhere to help you along the way. It sounds confusing but you'll understand when you see it. Anyway, Bill loves the present but somethng goes wrong. Bill get's mixed up with the wrong people who think he's a killer but Bill thinks it's all part of "the theater of life". but it's not the performance, it's real life! Bill get's close to dying so many times but he doesn't even realize how much danger he's in. All throughout the movie Bill thinks it's just a performance. In the end everything turns out fine and he even get's the girl! The only thing i didn't like was that Peter Gallagher was Bill Murray's brother, they don't look anything alike and Peter's really ugly! But other than that it was a hilarious movie and you're really missing out if you haven't seen it! go see it now before it's too late!
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2002
The other day I was telling my boss how awesome this movie was, so he decided to look online for reviews. Almost every professional reviewer gave some derogatory comment about it. From now on, I'm NEVER going to consult those reviews.
This movie is soooo incredibly funny, it ranks among my top ten favs of all time. One thing I can say is that it is imperitive that you pay attention in the beginning, as the rest of the movie hinges on your understanding of the scenario in which Bill Murray finds himself. The plot is naturally ridiculous like any comdedy, but the humor builds on itself, and keeps gettting more and more intense. The ending was a total riot.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2003
In The Man Who Knew Too Little, Bill Murray once again plays the character that he plays best -- the lovable, well-meaning guy who's just not quite right (think What About Bob?). This time, he's Wallace Ritchie, a guy from Iowa, who decides to take a trip to London to surprise his brother, James (Peter Gallagher). James, however, is preparing for an important dinner meeting, so he buys Wallace a ticket for the Theatre of Life, an experimental theatrical experience, in which people pay to be a part of the play.
Wallace is instructed to wait by a certain phone booth until he gets the call that tells him where to go next. But he answers the wrong call -- one that was meant for a real, live hitman. He unknowingly becomes caught up in a secret operation that's supposed to begin a second Cold War -- and he thinks he's just an actor.
This movie is filled with hilarious action -- like a car chase involving the police and Wallace driving a Mini the wrong way around a roundabout. Bill Murray does an excellent job of acting clueless (like I said, it's what he does best). Peter Gallagher's performance, on the other hand, makes me nervous. He's just so rigid and unstable -- but Murray more than makes up for what Gallagher lacks.
The Man Who Knew Too Little is the perfect addition to any collection. Watch it, and it'll make you laugh out loud -- no matter what kind of mood you're in.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2000
This show is hilarious. It is a perfect family show because there is little or no vulgarity. Bill Murray is hysterical as an unsuspecting mid westerner who has stumbled onto a major assassination plot in London. He has no idea what is really going on and yet plays the part beautifully to the end. We laughed so hard during one part we had tears in our eyes. He is one of the great comedic men and according to my friend who has actually met him, he's this funny in real life too.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2002
I don't know what it is about this crazy, kitschy comedy that makes me love it so much. It might be that Wallace Ritchie (Bill Murray) has an I-wanna-be-in-showbiz kind of flavor to him that by itself is funny. It might be that the character Ritchie throws himself into the "play" with such abandon (the car chase and subsequent conversations with the police are great). But I think most likely it's that the real international spies are delivering up every cliche in the book - when Ritchie is threatened with "Dr. Ludmilla Krapotkin", I found myself exclaiming "The evil lady torturer!" right along with him. There is such an element of "oh no, they wouldn't" in this movie, and it's always followed up with "oh yes, they would!"
I think the problem with reviews like the professional one listed here is that the reviewer only saw the one joke: Ritchie has so completely failed at suspending his disbelief about the "Theatre of Life" that he's crossed over into suspending his belief about the very real things going on around him. The filmmakers did not stop with a simple case of mistaken identity here - they've given us a kind of "As You Like It" meets "Casino Royale" and thrown in a dash of "Waiting for Guffman" just to be on the safe side.
This is a great flick.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2003
Wally Ritchie (Murray) flies from America to visit his brother James in London for his birthday. However James has a business meeting and needs Wally out of the way for the evening. He books Wally onto a new an audience participation TV show where actual people get to be a part of a real enactment. Wally answers the wrong phone call and is mistaken for hitman Spenser. Following the instructions of the call, Wally becomes involved in a plot to start the cold war again by killing a mix of Ambassadors. Blissfully unaware Wally sets out to foil the plot.
If you were reading above, you'd know that the plot is mush and ludicrous, and even if you take it seriously, all the pieces don't fit together and the plot doesn't make a lot of sense. However once you learn to overlook the nonsense -- and the humor helps you (e.g., Murray asks at the airport: "Which door leads to England?") â" this is all about Wally stumbling from one misunderstanding to another lucky occurrence. We're not in the realms of classic comedy here and it certainly isn't hilarious. Rather it's funny and enjoyable if you suspend disbelief.
Murray is the film's saving grace. He stumbles around so very well and makes even the most basic misunderstanding funny. Gallagher is a passable straightman and Walley-Kilmer is decent but really suffers from having to share a screen with Murray. A fleet of British faces make up the rest of the cast â" from Molina, Wilson, Woodeson to the sublime John Thomson and faces like Dexter Fletcher.
Overall this isn't the funniest thing you'll ever see, but it is enjoyable and will make you smile for 90 minutes, even if the belly laughs are less often than you'd like. Murray runs the show and brings laughs out of the least inspired routines. Well worth a watch if you're in a silly, undemanding mood.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is an enjoyable, lightweight Blake Edwards-style farce that gave me plenty of belly laughs. Bill Murray is such a good comic actor that he takes what ought to be a one-joke pastiche and milks it for every last drop of comedy. I've seen bumbling detectives and secret agent spoofs before, but Murray turns this into something special. I wouldn't rate it as highly as "Ghostbusters" or "Groundhog Day" but "The Man Who Knew Too Little" is enough of an overlooked gem for me to recommend it.