Something Wild

1986, Comedy/Mystery & thriller, 1h 53m

45 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Free-spirited Lulu (Melanie Griffith) sets her sights on uptight banker Charles (Jeff Daniels) for a little bit of fun. Their relationship starts off simple enough with a tryst and some modest adventure, but Lulu wants Charles to pose as her husband at a high school reunion. It seems harmless enough to Charles, but that all changes when Lulu's actual husband, Ray (Ray Liotta), confronts them at the event. Understandably, Ray isn't content to let Charles and Lulu ride off into the sunset.

Cast & Crew

Jeff Daniels
Charles Driggs
Melanie Griffith
Audrey Hankel
Ray Liotta
Ray Sinclair
Tracey Walter
The Country Squire
Jack Gilpin
Larry Dillman
John Sayles
Motorcycle cop
John Waters
Used car guy
E. Max Frye
Screenwriter
Edward Saxon
Executive Producer
Laurie Anderson
Original Music
David Byrne
Original Music
John Cale
Original Music
Exene Cervenka
Original Music
Danny Elfman
Original Music
Jean-Michel Jarre
Original Music
Tak Fujimoto
Cinematographer
Craig McKay
Film Editor
Norma Moriceau
Production Design
Billy Reynolds
Set Decoration
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Critic Reviews for Something Wild

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (4)

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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