Krippendorf's Tribe | Chicago Reader

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I failed to appreciate the humor in this story about a widowed anthropologist (Richard Dreyfuss) who bonds with his children by involving them in a scheme to secure grant money for a fraudulent project—the study of a rumored New Guinea tribe. He and the kids pretend to be tribe members, coloring their skin with makeup and accessorizing with items bought at the local garden-supply outlet. The sequence that pretty much did me in features Dreyfuss seducing an ambitious colleague (Jenna Elfman) so he can film the evening's exploits and pass off the footage as a document of tribe members' sexual behavior. He persuades her that a decorative wooden artifact with a hole in it is a ritual mating device, and the deception begets a later scene in a superstore where Elfman recognizes herself on dozens of TVs, covered in body paint and dancing as male customers watch openmouthed. When one man remarks that he'd gladly “do” the uninhibited woman on the screen, Elfman flees—and he adds self-righteously that he wasn't talking about her (1998). Todd Holland directed a screenplay by Charlie Peters, based on a book by Frank Parkin.

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