In I Dreamed of Africa, another rich white lady comes to the Dark Continent for love and adventure, then stays to take care of the adorable local people and animals. But this is no Out of Africa, and so much the pity; Oscar winner Kim Basinger, willing but stranded in her first role since L.A. Confidential, deserves someone to wash her sun-bleached hair with as much tenderness as Robert Redford lavished on Meryl Streep.
The autobiographical adventures of conservationist Kuki Gallmann (Basinger) are filled with personal tragedies and moments of woman-over-matter triumphs meant to wring admiration like alms from her audience. (Classy Eva Marie Saint, playing Kuki's cultured mother, urges her daughter to return to civilization after each crisis.) But a recitation of woes doesn't constitute a plot, and panoramic shots of migrating wildlife don't convey enough African flavor. Lumbering along the rutted tracks of a muddy script by Susan Shilliday (Legends of the Fall) and Paula Milne, this torpid drama from director Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) visits adversities as if they were stops on a photo safari. D+