Almost entirely scenery and labored melodrama, "I Dreamed of Africa" is a terribly earnest effort at making a weepy women's Event Picture from the memoirs of a American socialite roughing it on a ranch in Kenya.

Kim Basinger, in her first screen effort since winning the Oscar for "L.A. Confidential," take the lead as Kuki Gallmann, a real-life divorcee who moved to a derelict 100,000-acre ranch on the East African plains with her young son and her intrepid new husband in the early 1980s.

Tinged with tragedy and adventure, but very little depth, the film plays like entries being read at random from Gallmann's diary. It has a decade's worth of incidents it wants to touch on, but doesn't have a clue how to segue between them. The script has no organic flow whatsoever, racing roughshod over years at once (her son goes from 7 to 14 to 17 in two scenes) and leaving little time for character development.

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