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19th Aug 2021

Eight of the best fish-out-of-water movies of all time

Rory Cashin

Because we’ve all felt like a fish-out-of-water at one time or another!

The idea of a fish-out-of-water movie is a perfect one for some brilliant comedies. You take a character that is designed specifically to exist within certain circumstances, and then you take them out of that world entirely, and drop them into a new one. The rest is just sitting back and watching the hilarious reactions!

That is at the core of People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan, in which the members of West London garage act Kurupt FM head to Japan when they discover that one of their songs has become a bit of a hit there!

People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan is in Irish cinemas right now. Check out the trailer right here…

Clip via Universal Ireland

To celebrate the release of People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan, we wanted to take a look back over some of the very best fish-out-of-water movies of all time.

Back to the Future

To be fair, we could use any of the entries in this trilogy, but we’ll stick with the original for now! Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back through time thanks to the genius of his kooky neighbour (Christopher Lloyd), but can he keep his cool, hip, modern life (for the ’80s, anyways) hidden from the uptight crowd in the ’50s?

Beverly Hills Cop

Tough cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) travels from Detroit to the rich, opulent surrounds of Beverly Hills to follow a series of clues in his latest case, and quickly finds that his particular brand of street smarts can be used well against the unsuspecting citizens in his new stomping ground.


“I want to be big.” And so begins the magical journey of Josh (Tom Hanks), a young boy who wakes up the following morning in the body of a grown man. Still one of the most purely charming comedies of all time.

Lost In Translation

Two strangers arrive in Japan, both feeling alone and lonely, until they find each other and help each other get more accustomed to their surroundings. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson star in this brilliant Oscar-winning romantic drama.

School of Rock

Jack Black headlines this iconic comedy, playing a substitute teacher who has been kicked out of his own rock band. But he won’t entirely give up on his dream, instead decided to turn the students at the uptight school into a rock band of their own.


Almost literally a fish-out-of-water movie, we meet a mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who decides to try living on dry land in order to start a relationship with a young man (Tom Hanks), but he has no idea who (or what!) she really is.


What happens when you’re normally a god in your day-to-day life, but all of that power and pompousness gets stripped away from you? That is the central concern for Chris Hemsworth’s comic book movie, as he must adjust his abrasive, spoilt (“Another!”) ways in order to fit in on Earth.

Toy Story

Two fish-out-of-water stories for the price of one, as what begins as a space ranger (Tim Allen) not realising he’s actually a toy, soon develops into a toy (Tom Hanks) trying to survive the dangerous world outside of his owner’s bedroom.