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Little Indian, Big City

Rated PG, 90 min. Directed by Hervé Palud. Starring Thierry Lhermitte, Patrick Timsit, Ludwig Briand, Miou Miou, Arielle Dombasle, Sonia Vollereaux.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 29, 1996

Bad idea. Bad movie. Things like this should not be encouraged. Take a lame French comedy, even though it's from that nation's popular actor-producer Thierry Lhermitte, and dub it into English and release on these shores to an unsuspecting public. Even worse idea: Dub it really sloppily because what's the point of bothering since your target audience consists of little kids and what do they know anyhow? The story: An obnoxious businessman, Stephan Marchado (Lhermitte) needs to divorce his wife, from whom he's been separated for 13 years, so that he can remarry some twit back in Paris. The wife now lives in the South American jungle. But, surprise: When she left 13 years ago, she was pregnant, and when Stephan arrives with the divorce papers, he discovers that he is the father of a son named Mimi-Siku (Briand), which means “cat pee” in whatever language it is that they're supposedly speaking in this particular jungle. Boy and dad return to Paris together in order to bond but, of course, wacky things just keep happening. For example, Mimi-Siku is obsessed with visiting the Eiffel Tower so, despite wearing jeans and a T-shirt in the previous scene, he's suddenly dressed in a simple loincloth and climbing the Tower as if it were a tree. But, of course, the Parisians gain deep insight from the boy's primitive but wise Indian ways, even though it means putting up with the occasional bow-and-arrowed pigeon on their balconies. If the French hadn't already invented the word cliché, they would have done so for this movie. There's also an unsavory little subplot about a romance between Mimi-Siku and another 13-year-old girl that goes a bit further than we usually think proper for the “PG” set. Somehow, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the silly international import-export quotas are ultimately responsible for Little Indian, Big City. Can't you just see Disney's distribution company, Touchstone Pictures, thinking that by releasing this movie, they can then slip more Mickey Mice into Europe? When all other explanations fail, blame GATT.
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