Disney purchased the rights to this insufferable little French film with the intention of remaking it for television star Tim Allen. But it’s going to take a lot more than home improvement to save material as stultifying as this.
Thierry Lhermitte stars as Stephan Marchado, a wildly successful Parisian stockbroker whose wife left him 13 years ago. Though pregnant with their first child, she vanished without a word to the remote Amazon village of Lipo Lipo. There she gave birth to the boy of the title, played here by Ludwig Briand.
Since children in Lipo Lipo are allowed to choose their own names, the boy becomes known as Mimi-Siku, which translates to Cat Urine. Mind you, this is one of the film’s biggest laughs.
Most of the movie involves simplistic, fish-out-of-water farce.
When Stephan travels to the village to finally get a divorce with his wife, he ends up returning to Paris with the son he never knew.
Most of the movie involves simplistic, fish-out-of-water farce; first with Stephan in the strange world of Lipo Lipo and then with Mimi-Siku when he returns to France.
A number of wildly overdone characters, including Stephan’s New Age girlfriend and his hyperactive, child-slapping friend, also strive for a few forced laughs.
And the film isn’t beneath scattering casually racist jokes throughout. If Little Indian, Big City were only humorless, the film would be easy enough to ignore. But what really irks is the tastelessness of the movie’s laughs. It’s the kind of film where a parent slapping his kid is used as a joke – twice. And in a proud salute to old-time western movies, where all Native Americans speak in stilted, infantile sentences, Mimi-Siku utters such phrases as, “Is large village you have” and “Me no able to read.” Never mind that the boy’s mother, who taught him the language of Lipo Lipo, speaks French.