FILM- 10 fish out of water comedies

You know the deal. Someone gets thrown into a situation so far removed from their day-to-day lives we can’t help but look on in amusement and, slowly, begin rooting for them. Here are ten of the best.

Splash! ; Ron Howard; 1984

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy

We open our list with the most literal take on a fish out of water, as beautiful Daryl Hannah emerges from the depths of the ocean (she’s a mermaid) to steal Tom Hanks’ heart, who is intent on assimilating her with life on land. Iconic 80s romcom stuff.

HouseSitter ; Frank Oz; 1992

Starring: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, Dana Delany

She (Hawn) is a nomadic con artist who doesn’t want to settle down. Especially not with a grey haired architect whose idea of a wild night is designing a dream home to raise a family in. The she meets him (Martin)- a grey haired architect… you get the idea.

Trading Places ; John Landis; 1983

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy

Eddie Murphy plays a grifter living hand-to-mouth persuading people he’s an injured Vietnam veteran, whilst Dan Aykroyd is a wealthy investment banker who wouldn’t be seen dead in the Bronx. The latter’s bosses make a bet, and the stars’ lives are switched.

The Jerk ; Carl Reiner; 1979

Starring: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams

Is Steve Martin the ultimate fish out of water actor? Who knows, and who cares. Either way, in Reiner’s exceptionally funny movie he was raised by a protective adoptive black family, although he’s white, but then heads out into the big wide world a naive idiot.

Hot Fuzz ; Edgar Wright; 2007

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman

Underrated in comparison with Shaun of the Dead (which comes from the same team), Hot Fuzz is actually a fantastic comedy. Pegg plays a cop from London, complete with stab vest, who gets reassigned to a small English village where nothing seems to happen.

Back To The Future ; Robert Zemeckis; 1985

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Re-readings in which racist undercurrents have come to light aside, we still LOVE Back To The Future . Put simply, a teenager from the heady 80s accidentally climbs into a time machine car and travels back to the 1950s, where he nearly steals his mum’s heart.

Coming To America ; John Landis; 1988

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones

Another movie with some questionable racial stereotypes, or even caricatures, once you get past those issues it’s impossible not to enjoy this tale of an African prince who opts for impoverished Queens, New York, as the best place to find his bride-to-be.

Uncle Buck ; John Hughes; 1989

Starring: John Candy, Macaulay Culkin, Jean Louisa Kelly

How much do you miss John Candy? Our answer would be a lot, and Uncle Buck is the big man at his best. After a family emergency strikes, the eponymous Buck has to move into his brother’s house to babysit the kids, despite him being an irresponsible slob.

Big ; Penny Marshall; 1988

Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia

Here’s (yet) another question; were the 1980s the ultimate era for fish out of water comedies? We say definitely, as Big proves, wherein high school kid Josh makes a wish at a fairground, and then wakes up the next day to find himself an adult. Hijinks abound.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery ; 1997

Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York

The International Man of Mystery was a super spy back in the 1960s, got all the girls, partied in all the right places, and said all the right things. Having just woken up from a cryogenic sleep in the 1990s, none of the above apply anymore. Classic silliness.

This article was downloaded from

[divide icon=”circle” color=”#e92323″]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *