Peter Greenaway's latest foray into highbrow elitism will test the endurance of even his most fervent admirers. 8 1/2 Women indulges his fascination with the human body by allowing a father and son to fulfil their sexual fantasies by setting up a brothel comprised of the title characters, and systematically ogling each of the voluptuous and unusual female forms they encounter.

The compulsive listmaking and mathematical precision of Greenaway's earlier films is present and intact, but the center of 8 1/2 Women is ultimately hollow and painfully obvious. His very concept reduces women to childish fantasies such as the sexually repressed nun (Toni Collette), the pregnant woman (Natacha Amal), the nubile bombshell (Polly Walker), the prudish accountant who wears thick glasses (Vivian Wu, from The Pillow Book) and the woman who adores her pet horse and pig (Amanda Plummer). The "half-woman" has no legs, of course.

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