“An Indian in the City” is a crowd-pleasing, fish-out-of-water kidpic that also will tickle adults. Neatly scripted comedy, about a harried Paris exec saddled with an adolescent son who was raised in the wilds of Venezuela, pokes fun at the stresses of modern life with zesty situational humor. Children’s programmers worldwide should seek out this family-oriented adventure romp, which is likely to score a B.O. bull’s-eye at Gallic wickets.
Gizmo-addicted international trader Steph (Thierry Lhermitte) jets to the Amazon to settle the paperwork to divorce his absentee wife of 13 years, Patricia (Miou-Miou), who split for the remote South American outpost of Lipo-Lipo after only a year of marriage. Steph’s wedding to gorgeous New Age flake Charlotte (Arielle Dombasle) is imminent back in Paris.
Stranded in Patricia’s adopted village and cut off from his electricity-and-computer-dependent wheeling and dealing, Steph discovers he’s the father of a 13-year-old boy, Mimi-Siku (Ludwig Briand). The brave and athletic son is perfectly versed in the ways of the jungle and dreams of seeing the Eiffel Tower.
Steph returns with Mimi-Siku to Paris, only to learn his livelihood is in jeopardy because his partner Richard (Patrick Timsit) fumbled a high-stakes soybean deal.
Pic’s strength is its deft blend of dilemmas, delivering enough comic antics from Mimi-Siku’s p.o.v. to keep kids entertained while offering an array of romantic and business predicaments to amuse adult viewers.
Exploring the urban jungle in loincloth and with bow and arrow, Mimi-Siku creates havoc by scaling the Eiffel Tower, spearing and cooking aquarium fish and using the pigeons on an elderly woman’s terrace for archery practice. The boy’s pet tarantula also sparks delightfully silly encounters.
Hoping to unload the soy, Steph and Richard get mired in creepy dealings with the Russian Mafia, to excellent comic effect. While Steph tries to placate the flighty Charlotte, his resourceful son catches on to “civilized” behavior and falls for Richard’s young daughter.
Sunshine-drenched lensing in the scenic heart of Paris and in unspoiled Venezuela anchors the peppy tale. Playing by the name cast is light and engaging , with special praise for child actor Briand, who makes his unlikely character entirely believable. Soundtrack by three world-music innovators lends an exotic and effective touch.