Little Indian, Big City

on January 01, 1900 by Pat Kramer
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   Originally titled "An Indian in Paris," this 1994 French-language film might be called a Gallic "Crocodile Dundee" for children, with its principal character being a 13-year-old boy (Ludwig Briand) named Mimi-Siku which means "Cat-pee" born of French parents but raised in the wilds of South America, where he lives with his mother ("Germinal's" Miou Miou). His father, designer clothing-clad Parisian commodities broker Stephan Marchado (Thierry Lhermitte of "La Totale!"), travels to the Amazonian setting to serve divorce papers. He grows fond of the rascally Mimi-Siku and is persuaded to take him back to France so the boy can visit the Eiffel Tower.
   As one might expect, the aborigine wreaks havoc on Stephan's personal and business life, alienating his fiancee, Charlotte (Michelle Pfeiffer lookalike Arielle Dombasle, in a change of pace from her art-house turns for the likes of Eric Rohmer and Roman Polanski), and making a pass at the angst-ridden 12-year-old daughter (Pauline Pinsolle) of Stephan's apoplectic business partner, Richard ("Vanilla Straw-berry's" Patrick Timsit). When the two youngsters run away with a briefcase full of Russian mob money, all hell breaks loose.
   Though the Touchstone release is enormously entertaining, both for its acting and its values, the extremely poor dubbing into English is reminiscent of that for a bad Japanese horror flick. If audiences can get by that audiotrack, however, they have a good chance of enjoying the role reversal projected by the teenage hero. Combining childlike innocence with a manly, take-charge charisma, Briand creates a role model that causes the adults around him to question their values, leaving the world a little better than before.    Starring Thierry Lhermitte, Patrick Timsit and Ludwig Briand. Directed by Herve Palud. Written by Herve Palud and Igor Aptekman. Produced by Louis Becker and Thierry Lhermitte. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. French-language; English-dubbed. Rated PG for crude language, adolescent sensuality and scenes of mild violence. Running time: 90 min.
Tags: Thierry Lhermitte, Patrick Timsit, Ludwig Briand, Herve Palud, Igor Aptekman, Louis Becker, Buena Vista, Comedy, French, travel, business
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