Viewers who enjoyed THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY and BAGDAD CAFE will likely be delighted with Lol Creme's THE LUNATIC, an off-beat, droll saunter underneath the Jamaican Sun.
Improving upon the Lerner-Loewe song, Aloysius (Paul Campbell) doesn't just talk to the trees, he converses with all living creations--from cows to bushes. Picking up scraps of education by eavesdropping at the schoolhouse, this lunatic is a local eccentric, a fringe dweller who's barely
tolerated. That outcast status changes when an Amazonian tourist enters his picturesque paradise. Part Eve, part serpent, Inga (Julie T. Wallace) tramples all over Mother Nature, introduces Aloysius to non-stop fornication, and dominates the simple-Simon peasant until he becomes her puppet.
Snapping photographs like a shutter-fiend and grappling with the local customs and language like an explorer determined to conquer the New World, she seems to devour everyone and everything in her path.
Not content with one man, Inga also adopts Service Johnson (Carl Bradshaw), the local butcher, for fun and games. Before this menage a trois can settle into domestic bliss, however, Inga's papa cuts off her travel funds. Inga panics and insists her two pawns join her in burglarizing the home of
civic leader Busha (Reggie Carter). Although Aloysius feels a loyalty to his community and even becomes a local hero at a cricket match, Inga is powerfully seductive. Unfortunately, the plot gets out of hand and Service nearly murders Busha who arrives home unexpectedly with his wife on church
During the ensuing trial Inga defends Aloysius for saving Busha's life before she herself is whisked back to Europe by her father. Forgiven by Busha and aquitted, Aloysius is adopted by a local widow who plans to take care of his spiritual and physical needs in the future. But despite her
civilizing influence and the corrupting touch of a tourist, Aloysius can still communicate with plants and animals.
Depending on one's mood and taste for whimsy, THE LUNATIC could provide an exotic vacation from more mainstream fare. Without being condescending to Aloysius, its naive focal point, the film establishes its folksy tone from the outset and rarely falters. Since the lilt of the Jamaican language is
so musical and the film's cinematography captures the drenching warmth of the West Indies sun, the viewer is comfortably lulled into accepting the far-fetched escapades.
Sweetly acted by the largely unfamiliar cast, THE LUNATIC gradually persuades viewers of the wisdom of the central character's world view. However, when the film introduces the trouble-making Inga, it often unwisely shifts its emphasis from folk humor to low comedy. As amusing as Julie T. Wallace
is (she was indelible as the eponymous heroine of TV's "The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil"), she often threatens to pulverize this fable with overplaying in the broadest manner. Like Aloysius, the viewer is often in the position of being pleasantly but decidedly crushed by this statuesque
Directed by former 10CC member Lol Creme (who, along with partner Kevin Godley, became a pioneer in the music video field), THE LUNATIC triumphs over its shortcomings by always returning to form with a measure of gently breezy humor. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Viewers who enjoyed THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY and BAGDAD CAFE will likely be delighted with Lol Creme's THE LUNATIC, an off-beat, droll saunter underneath the Jamaican Sun. Improving upon the Lerner-Loewe song, Aloysius (Paul Campbell) doesn't just talk to t… (more)