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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Something Wild
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Criterion 1986 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - adult situations/language, nudity, violence

Charlie (Jeff Daniels), a Wall Street yuppie, meets Lulu (Melanie Griffith), a cute bad girl, and his heart does a somersault. After seeing him walk out of a diner without paying the check, she offers him a lift back to the office. Instead, Lulu drives to a New Jersey motel and handcuffs Charlie to the bed. Later she asks, "What are you gonna do now that you see how the other half lives — the other half of you?"

Jonathan Demme (Citizen Band, Melvin and Howard) directs this 1986 offbeat comedy which shifts tone several times and surprises us with its quirky characters. The story will appeal to anyone who has ever yearned for an escape from the confines of everyday life into a more adventuresome one elsewhere. It also plays to the secret part of us that hungers for the seductions and dangers of sexual thrill- seeking. Lulu takes Charlie on a road trip to her hometown where she introduces him as her husband. Then they head off to her 10th high-school reunion where he is her designated mate. By this time, Charlie has fallen in love with this zany and free-spirited woman who has liberated him from his ho-hum existence as a business man.

Charlie and Lulu's adventure ends when her ex-husband Ray (Ray Liotta), just released from prison, shows up. But the transformed romantic is determined to take one more walk on the wild side as he confronts Ray.

Director Jonathan Demme is a connoisseur of pop music and has directed some concert films. Here you can savor the Troggs's rock 'n' roll gem "Wild Thing" which might just make your heart sing. Be sure to check out the reggae rendition of the song by Sister Carol during the closing credits. Something Wild challenges us to think about the risks we are willing to take to discover the wild part of ourselves.

Special features on the DVD include new video interviews with Demme and writer E. Max Frye; the original theatrical trailer; and a booklet featuring a new essay by film critic David Thompson.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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