One Woman or Two | Chicago Reader

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Anthropologist Gerard Depardieu builds a model of “the first Frenchwoman” from a 2,000,000-year-old skeleton and falls in love with it. Director Daniel Vigne (The Return of Martin Guerre) apparently set out to give Bringing Up Baby another screwball run, with Depardieu combing the French countryside for intercostal clavicles (or the maguffinish equivalent thereof) while Sigourney Weaver does her sub-Hepburn best to turn his attentions from problematic apes to modern womanly essence. Unfortunately, the results are more akin to Mannequin, with eros voyeuristically diverted toward computer-generated femaleness and fetishist anatomy. The sexual confusions are enough to require the help of a professional, but the only one available (TV's Dr. Ruth Westheimer, as a diminutive research benefactor) is up to her earlobes in regressive short-joke imagery and fossil allusions, so the pathology's left to fester. Still, Vigne is much exercised over right-thinking racial matters (Depardieu causes an uproar when he announces the first Frenchwoman was black), though his own response to blackness (as a species of divine show-biz exoticism) belongs to the Josephine Baker era. Homo erectus isn't the only throwback here. With Michel Aumont and Zabou.

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