The Sleeping Dictionary (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Sleeping Dictionary is one of those "British in the Jungle" movies; one of those "white man's burden" films where all the Englishmen stay in full dress uniform in the sweltering heat, while the native women bathe temptingly under cool, soothing waterfalls. Stiff upper lip and duty versus love for a native girl, and all that, you know ...

"I do say, Jeeves. Bring me another gin and tonic, and do shoot that frightful beggar on your way back."

It turns out that every single character is the secret love child of every other character. Dickens would be proud.

It's also an old-fashioned Hollywood-style movie - swelling romantic music, primitive headhunters with pressed clothing and 21st century manicures, the whole schmear.


Jessica Alba's body double showed her breasts in sex scenes.

Emily Mortimer showed her breasts in clear light.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1.

  • no real features except a rock video


The good news: It has its moments. Noah Taylor is suitably slimy as the condescending  "shoot that beggar" character. Bob Hoskins brings a shade of reality to the film, as he always does dependably. There is some beautiful photography of tropical Malaysia. Jessica Alba makes a beautiful Pacific Islander, and did some sex scenes.

The bad news: Alba used a body double. Info here. The interview with Jessica is clearly correct. All of the nudity ends at the collarbone, not matter how ungainly the resulting shot.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. Voting results: IMDb voters score it 6.2/10
  • Box office: Yahoo says, "This film was originally scheduled for a theatrical release in the summer of 2001, and then for June 7th, 2002, but it was pulled from that second date to make room for Cherish." It ended up going straight to vid, despite a $12 million budget.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, C-.

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