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'An American Werewolf in Paris'

By Stephen Hunter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 25, 1997

  Movie Critic

Anthony Waller
Tom Everett Scott;
Julie Delpy;
Vince Vieluf;
Phil Buckman;
Julie Bowen;
Pierre Cosso;
Tom Novembre;
Thierry Lhermitte;
Maria Machado
Running Time:
1 hour, 50 minutes
Under 17 restricted

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Werewolf movies, vulgar, hairy and silly though they may be, have been a reliable genre for too many movie generations to count, but "An American Werewolf in Paris" may put the old silver bullet through the tradition for good. Lacking the serious horror of Henry Hull's original 1935 "Werewolf of London" or the cleverness of "The Howling" or the ironic playfulness of "An American Werewolf in London," it's no bark and no bite.

First, the illusion of a wolf creature is dismal. At least the effects people don't paste fake fur on a human face over a time-lapse sequence. But they come up with something equally unattractive: a tribe of murky, computer-generated creatures whose anatomy is never clear, whose faces are hardly seen and whose bodies never make much sense. They never look believable in the frame with actors; it's like that time Beavis and Butt-head presented an Oscar.

Plot? You can't really call it that. Here's what happens as the movie processes its way from dimly lit massacre to dimly lit massacre: A handsome Pillsbury doughboy named Tom Everett Scott plays an American college student in gay Paree who falls for a mysterious nurse played by Julie Delpy. He pursues her and ultimately appears to succeed. He wakes up shortly thereafter with a bite mark on his ankle and an intense hunger for sandwiches made from two pieces of meat around a slab of bread.

A number of films have prowled the erotic content of lycanthropy, but this is not one of them. It's more interested in the office politics of the breed. See, it turns out she's a good werewolf, trying to cure him (and herself and the world) medically. The bad werewolves are French skinheads who want to purify the city by eliminating the two things les Francais find so annoying: drunks and tourists.

It's all too silly to bother. Without style and attitude, nothing gets old faster than horror    

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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