Something Wild

1986

Something Wild

Critics Consensus

Boasting loads of quirky charm, a pair of likable leads, and confident direction from Jonathan Demme, Something Wild navigates its unpredictable tonal twists with room to spare.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,470
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Something Wild Photos

Movie Info

A straight-arrow accountant hits it off with a wild, highly adventurous woman, and together they impulsively embark upon an unpredictable journey. A modern take on a screwball comedy with dramatic overtones, the film follows the mismatched couple as they find themselves in deeper trouble than either of them ever expected.

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Cast

Jeff Daniels
as Charles Driggs
Melanie Griffith
as Lulu / Audrey Hankel
Ray Liotta
as Ray Sinclair
Jack Gilpin
as Larry Dillman
Tracey Walter
as The Country Squire
Su Tissue
as Peggy Dillman
Dana Preu
as Peaches
John Sayles
as Motorcycle Cop
John Waters
as Used Car Guy
Charles Napier
as Irate Chef
Leib Lensky
as Frenchy
Ding-A-Ling
as Motorcycle Dog
Patricia Falkenhain
as Charlie's Secretary
Sandy McLeod
as Graves' Secretary
Robert Ridgely
as Richard Graves
Buzz Kilman
as TV Newscaster
Jim Roche
as Motel Philosopher
Max the Dog
as Himself
The Texas Kid
as Hitchhiking Cowboy
D. Byron Hutcherson
as Hitchhiking Kid
Eleana Hutcherson
as Hitchhiking Kid
Thomas Cavano
as Guitar Player
Dorothy Demme
as Junk Store Gal
Emma Bryne
as Junk Store Gal
T. Maggie
as Country Squire Bulldog
Ardella Mary Drew
as Donna Penski
Lee Joseph Davis
as James Williams
Edward Saxon
as Kevin Stroup
James Hurd
as Stylish Reunion Couple
Joanna Kitchen-Hurd
as Stylish Reunion Couple
Gary Goetzman
as Guido Paonessa
Dung Chau
as Robbery Victim
Steve Scales
as `Nelson'
John Montgomery
as Harmonica Slim
Heather Shaw
as Choir Girl
Vic Blair
as Cowboy Maitre d'
Johnny Marrs
as Motorcycle Driver
Henry George Wyche Jr.
as Police Officer
K. Marilee Smith
as Police Officer
R. Jeffery Rioux
as Police Officer
Jeff Herig
as Police Officer
Gil Lazier
as Homicide Detective
Anna Levine
as The Girl in 3F
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News & Interviews for Something Wild

Critic Reviews for Something Wild

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7)

  • It begins with a meet-cute and ends with a murder, and sandwiched in between those emotional extremes are romance, regret and revenge.

    May 17, 2011 | Full Review…

    William Goss

    Film.com
    Top Critic
  • Jonathan Demme's picaresque joyride across the American landscape is still arguably the best thing he's ever done.

    Dec 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Demme observes the human eccentricity that underlies the corner-store banalities of Middle America with warmth and loving detail; while a magnificent rock soundtrack and faultless performances from Daniels, Griffith and Liotta ensure pleasures galore.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film's principal difficulty is E. Max Frye's original screenplay, which is better thought out in terms of its narrative than of the characters.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Demme is a master of finding the bizarre in the ordinary... This is one of those rare movies where the plot seems surprised at what the characters do.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A load of fun.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Something Wild

  • Jul 22, 2017
    Somehow this one passed me by and what a mistake that has been for me. The best I've ever seen Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith, they play a couple who "go wild" for a minute, taking us along for the typical romcom ride, however more comically sophisticated.The landscape is an America rarely seen in film, one that I recognized as real though it was 30 years old. Really a great film! And then Ray Liotta shows up. Jonathon Demme, the director, should go far. And a to die for soundtrack.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2011
    Something Wild starts off as a free-spirited roadtrip film between a carefree woman named Lulu (Melanie Griffith) and a businessman named Charlie (Jeff Daniels) who meet as it seems by fate. Each time Lulu pushes Charlie he must gather the courage to leave his comfort zone and push the boundaries and simply live in the moment in order to appease Lulu and learn about himself. These events range from running on restaurant bills to robbery and other more childish and silly antics. Eventually they find themselves at Lulu's class reunion where they meet her ex-husband Ray (Ray Liotta in his film debut) who is a jealous and very dangerous entity of Lulu's past. The latter part of the film morphs into a type of darker thriller piece as Lulu and Charlie must overcome the terrifying Ray as he tries to rip the two apart and take Lulu back, whether she wants to be with him or not. The improvised bits of the film make for a very free-flowing narrative, especially in the first half of the film, and the performances from the cast are spot on with Jonathan Demme's story and direction.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 24, 2011
    Sort of a more up to date version of 'After Hours' with a more extreme, loud and in your face storyline as Daniels is dragged from one humiliating scene to another by wild child Griffiths who at first seems determined to get Daniels into trouble. Sure enough Griffiths character slowly gets Daniels in all heaps of bother as they evade checks and steal money from stores, its kinda predictable but not as uneasy watching as 'After Hours' as its more 'out there' and regular people are less likely to do that sort of thing haha Casting is abit off for me in this as Griffiths never was much to look at in my opinion and she hardly comes across as a law breaker whilst Daniels has never really been a good actor from day one haha. Things get better acting wise when Liotta turns up as the crazy jealous ex-con but the plot gets alittle out of hand too as things go from light hearted comedy to dark and uncomfortable, as only Liotta knows how, and the film becomes less enjoyable really.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2011
    ONE radiantly beautiful, late spring day in lower Manhattan, Charles Driggs (Jeff Daniels), a proper young tax consultant, walks out of a lunchroom without paying his check. It's just a whim - a vestige of the rebel that exists within Charlie. The act goes unnoticed by the cashier, but not by another patron (Melanie Griffith), an eccentrically dressed young woman who wears a Louise Brooks wig of bobbed black hair and initially calls herself Lulu. The young woman (who's actually a blonde named Audrey) confronts Charlie on the sidewalk. She threatens to call the police and then, instead, offers to drive him to his office. Charlie, both unsettled and intrigued, agrees. Within two hours, Audrey has Charlie somewhere in New Jersey, in a sleazy motel room, handcuffed to the bedpost, sighing with delight as she rips off his clothes and makes love to him. This is the unlikely but hugely promising beginning of Jonathan Demme's new ''Something Wild,'' which starts off as a comedy, slips into melodrama and winds up as something of a romantic dream. In spite of all its manic shifting of gears, though, ''Something Wild'' never achieves the momentum required to make the transitions from one mood to the next with any ease. One movie ends as an entirely different one begins. ''Something Wild,'' which opens today at the Baronet and other theaters, is often ''Something Wrong.'' Audrey, it turns out, has identified Charlie as a kindred spirit and has kidnapped him to take him home to Virginia, to introduce him (as her husband) to her mother and to be her escort at her high school reunion. All goes well until Audrey's real husband, Ray (Ray Liotta), a psychotic, small-town hood, turns up at the same reunion. What happens subsequently is a sort of provincial version of Griffin Dunne's nightmare in ''After Hours.'' As he demonstrated in ''Handle With Care'' and ''Melvin and Howard,'' Mr. Demme has a singular gift for offbeat comedy. When ''Something Wild'' is dealing with the burgeoning relationship between the once-uptight Charlie and the sweetly desperate, near-alcoholic Audrey, the film has the manner of a screwball comedy designed for the 1980's. It's full of quirky lines and characters, including Audrey's old-shoe, resolutely unshockable mother (Dana Preu), called Peaches. It's also full of dead ends and red herrings. As written, Audrey would seem to be a most unlikely fan of Louise Brooks, and I can only believe that when, late in the film, we see her reading a book about Winnie Mandela, it's supposed to be a sight-gag. The performances are, without exception, good. Mr. Daniels, best remembered for his role as the disconnected actor in Woody Allen's ''Purple Rose of Cairo,'' and Miss Griffith, who sometimes sounds eerily like Judy Holliday, play - when allowed - with the sort of earnest intensity that is the basis of comedy at its best. Mr. Liotta,here a newcomer, nearly walks off with his sections of the film, while Miss Preu, who was so fine in Victor Nunez's ''Gal Young Un,'' actually does. Almost as good are the other members of the supporting cast, including Jack Gilpin, Charles Napier and Mr. Demme's fellow directors, John Sayles and John Waters, who do cameos. The film's principal difficulty is E. Max Frye's original screenplay, which is better thought out in terms of its narrative than of the characters who, in one way and another, are supposed to make it all happen. Missing is the impulse for what we are led to believe is the liberating behavior of Audrey and Charlie. They are so dimly written that they must be characterized entirely in terms of the actors' performances, the clothes they wear and the soundtrack music. Because that's not good enough, there is no real payoff. By the end of ''Something Wild,'' you may well ask, ''So what?'' BREAKING OUT SOMETHING WILD
    Martin D Super Reviewer

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