Plot: Charlie (Jeff Daniels) is a straight laced businessman, but he likes to get a little thrill from time to time, often by skipping out on a check. After he walks out of a diner and leaves the bill, he is approach by a woman named Lulu (Melanie Griffith) who caught him in the act. He assumes she works at the diner, but his little trick captured her interest, so she wanted to meet him. He is in a rush to return to work, so he agrees to let her give him a ride, but soon the two find themselves at a motel and engaged in a wild, spontaneous bout of sexual passion. Charlie is fascinated by Lulu and her carefree ways and soon, he forgets all about his work and responsibilities, joining her on a road trip instead. But is her carefree nature just an embrace of life’s wonders, or is there some darkness buried in her past?
Entertainment Value: The first hour or so of Something Wild is all about this odd couple dynamic, as Lulu’s brazen lifestyle drives Charlie to the heights of lust, as he sees the kind of life he could have had. The writing is sharp and the characters seem authentic, Lulu as a colorful, go where the takes her kind of woman, while Charlie is a good guy, but has repressed a lot of himself, likely to be able to advance in business and provide for the family he once had. The two make an interesting, dynamic pair and the process of Lulu bringing out the repressed side of Charlie seems very real here. I also love the chemistry between Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels, as the the work well together here and have a great cadence. But the second half of the movie takes a turn in a new direction, one that is fine, but not as effective. I mean, that Lulu would pursue “bad boys” should be fairly common sense and when the narrative focuses so much on that, the movie dips a lot across the board. I do think Ray Liotta is excellent here and nails the role, but the first half of the movie is much more creative and interesting. So the movie feels a little uneven, but is still a fun ride and has some terrific performances. So if you like quirky, romantic movies with a big 80s vibe, check out Something Wild.
The nakedness here consists of a couple topless scenes and some bare ass, so it is never graphic or gratuitous. The movie has a little blood, but it is minor and no severe violence or bloodshed is presented. Just some blood on shirts and Charlie’s face gets a little beat up, but that’s all for this department. The dialogue is colorful and well written, with the humor driven by the characters and to me, that adds a lot of value. I do love random and wild moments of course, but this kind of character driven humor is really effective as well. Lulu has a wealth of great lines, as she sees the world in unique ways and is never shy about sharing her thoughts. Charlie has some fun moments as well, while Ray gives some good tough guy talk. So some fun, well written stuff here that also serves to enhance the characters and let us get to know them more. As for craziness, the first half has some impulsive zaniness and things take a darker turn later on, so not an off the rails movie, but some minor wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 2/10