One has got to wonder why director Adrian ("Fatal Attraction") Lyne felt so compelled to adapt Nabakov's story of pedophilia. Stanley Kubrick did it once in 1963 and although he admits it was one of his weaker efforts, the theme doesn't exactly cry out for re-examination. Given this, one surmises that Lyne will soon get offers to be the Master of Ceremonies at pedophilia parades or be asked to staff an informational booth at PedFest '98. In fact, if he plays his cards right in championing this unpopular cause, Lyne stands a fair chance of becoming the next Charlton Heston, if a tad less immoral.
Because Americans take some deranged pride in being the moral hypocrites of the world (an older guy screwing an underage girl is unmentionable, while little black kids blowing each other away with AK-47s is celebrated with its own genre of rap), the film has been kept from theatrical release in the States. Undoubtedly, it will show in the U.S. some day with the dreaded NC-17 rating or in a severely edited version with all the references to sex dubbed over in Japanese and any glimpses of naughty bits covered by the grinning, superimposed face of Tipper Gore.
With only a brief glimpse of little Lo's bod, Lyne resigns himself to constructing a huge, lip-smackingly-good innuendo sandwich. Professor Humpert marries Lo's mom (Melanie Griffith) to get to the little girl. After mom's death, Humpert takes Lo on a whirlwind tour of New England, growing ever more jealous that she may be doing something seedy, possibly with another local pervert (Frank Langella).
Naturally, this sort of thing is fated to end badly which, regrettably, does not include a graphic scene of Melanie's noggin getting burst like a ripe cantaloupe upon her untimely collision with the car that propels Humpert toward his dream. And that's the true waste of this movie: If you're going to incur the wrath of the MPAA, you might as might as well put your freedom to use and avenge "Shining Through" while you're at it.
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