After the death of his wife, eminent anthropologist James Krippendorf goes into a blue funk and fails to complete his search for a lost tribe that purportedly exists in New Guinea. And that's a problem, because he was given a $100,000 grant for the project, and he has now spent all of that money.
When called upon to give a lecture about the tribe, he concocts the "Shelmikedmu," named for his three children, Shelly (Natasha Lyonne), Mickey (Gregory Smith), and Edmund (Carl Michael Lindner), which, he claims, is the first and only discovered tribe to have single-parent families and practice circumcision.
When the demands of his university's dean (Stephen Root) and president (Doris Belack), as well as pressing financial concerns, require him to provide proof of the Shelmikedmu, Krippendorf enlists the aid of his children and the unwitting help of a publicity-hungry colleague (Jenna Elfman) to manufacture videotapes of the tribe in action.
The review of this Movie prepared by James Craver
James Krippendorf, anthropologist and professor (Dreyfuss), has frittered away the grant money he was supposed to use to search for the last undiscovered tribe in New Guinea. So to cover up this misuse of funds, perhaps attract more grant money, and have SOMETHING to lecture about, he creates a fictitious primitive tribe called the Shelmikedmu and concocts video footage of their practices using himself and his children. (The tribe's name is an amalgam of his three kids' names: Shelley, Mickey, and Edmund.) Krippendorf's discovery attracts the attention of a young fellow academic, Veronica Micelli (a lithe and pushy pre-Dharma Elfman) who wants to horn in on the action by "managing" him, and a cable TV producer (Stiers). A fellow faculty member (Tomlin) is suspicious and labors to expose Krippendorf. This 1998 film is often lame, silly, and stupid, but has its hilarious moments and rarely stoops to the obnoxious or crass.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus