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An American Werewolf in Paris: Le Loup-Garou Merde

a film review by Joe Parra

Rating: .5 out of 4 (Yes, that's one half out of a possible four!)

I am one of those people who believes that a large budget, studio backing, an interesting idea, and 16 years in development should result in a good movie. Hell, I'm not expecting great or even very good, just good. What An American Werewolf in Paris is can be expressed in the French expletive merde, which I'm sure everyone is familiar with.

Three Americans, possibly students, possibly hobos, are vacationing in France and are engaged in a long-winded game of "can-you-top-this?" The dullard of the group, the very cute but schmucky Tom Everett Scott, decides he will best his comrades by executing a bungee jump off the Eiffel Tower. As he is about to do this remarkably stupid thing (as his friends tell him, in the most excruciating exchange of dialog ever written), a young woman appears and jumps off the Tower as well, sans bungee rope. He manages to save her and, in reverse Cinderella fashion, has her shoe. He awakens in a hospital and suddenly remembers she left a suicide note. This is fine except that when he saw her leave the Tower, she didn't leave a note. So much for continuity. Our hero and his two stooge friends find the note and somehow (beyond the ken of Sherlock Holmes) ascertain from the note where she lives. Once there, the girl tells Scott (and Larry and Curly) to go. Being stupid, they return that night, only to find a friend of hers there; he tells them how she isn't home but invites them to a party at the Club de Lune. It's a werewolf party ; and guess why humans are invited?! The girl comes to save Scott as the moon draws full and she turns nasty, as do the club kids who are dining on the guests. To make a really long story short, Scott gets infected with lycanthropy, and he and the girl have to save everyone from the evil werewolves, who are not her friends after all.

It took three people to write this mess. The impression given is that the initial team of screenwriters wrote themselves into a corner, were fired or quit or whatever, and the third person (who is also the director and producer of this fleabag) took over and thoroughly screwed up what was already an incoherent mass of garbage. The special effects (hah!) are laughable, as the wolf folk are computer-generated beasties that look like cartoons. A company called Magicon was responsible and should be drummed out of the industry. All I could think of when looking at them was a line from the classic song, My Funny Valentine: "Your looks are laughable, unphotographable." Supposedly, the character of the young wolf girl is the daughter of the David Naughton and Jenny Agutter characters from An American Werewolf in London. How this information is to be conveyed is presumably through osmosis, since there is no reference to this in the film, only in press materiels provided to magazines. The acting ranges from "not bad" (Delpy & Scott) to "why bother" (anyone else in this old bone). Anthony Waller is the responsible party at the helm of this disaster. Common sense should have told him that if John Landis, who helmed the original, couldn't come up with a decent screenplay in 16 years that any studio would touch, maybe it should have been left alone. The only possible excuses that Disney's Hollywood Pictures could possibly have for fronting this bomb are blackmail and/or tax loss. There are vague references to other werewolf flicks and stories throughout, including a pathetic bit of stealing from Guy Endore's classic novel The Werewolf of Paris, with the werewolf hero having to save his damsel from other beasts. The difference is that in the Endore book, the rescue is in an insane asylum. The parties responsible for this film should take a cue..

As most of you know, I adore werewolf movies. I adore lousy movies. One would think this was a marriage made in Heaven. Well, this shaggy dog went straight to Hell, and I want a divorce!! Enjoy? Shit (English for merde, in case you didn't know), I'd have been happier watching a rerun of the Lost In Space werewolf episode! Stay home and wait for this to come on cable. You'll still have to pay, but at least there will be myriad other films to get for your HBO or Showtime fee. !Au revoir!

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