The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

It’s always intriguing to me when I look up a director and discover that I’ve watched more of their films than I realized. Case in point — Jon Amiel. As I started writing this article about The Man Who Knew Too Little, I was surprised to learn that I’d seen so many of his films, like CopycatEntrapment and The Core.

Beyond its title being a play on Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, it was written by British musician Robert Farrar, whose book Watch That Man was the inspiration for the movie, and Howard Franklin, who co-wrote and co-directed Quick Change with Bill Murray.

Speaking of Bill Murray…

This movie wouldn’t work with anyone else. As Wallace Ritchie, he’s an idiotic everyman that you just have to fall in love with. As he goes to London to visit his brother James (Peter Gallagher), he’s set up to be part of an interactive improv theater group. Nine years before The Game, a very similar series of events occurs.

Joanna Whalley, who was once married to Val Kilmer and was a member of the post-punk Manchester music scene, shows up as a femme fatale. And Alfred Molina is wonderful in his role as an assassin.

In a perfect world, they would have made numerous versions of this. Think of it as an American Mr. Bean.

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