American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Some movies don't seem to know what they're really about, and "A Tiger's Tale" is one of them. It only seems to be about corn pone weirdos on a snake-and-tiger ranch. It only thinks it's about good ol' boys and girls who go to the square dance on Saturday night and spend the rest of the week trading philosophies and partners. Actually, it's an erotic movie that just doesn't have the nerve to declare itself.
The movie takes place in a Texas backwater where people have names like Bubber and tigers have names like Valentino. Bubber, played by C. Thomas Howell, is an 18-year-old who has a problem. His girlfriend only likes to park and neck in the front yard of her home, where she'll get caught by her mother. Maybe she gets some kind of thrill that way.
The mother is played by Ann-Margret. She's a little strange. One night a week, she likes to dress up like a geisha and eat Chinese food by candlelight. Bubber observes that she sure looks good in a kimono, and the next thing you know he has abandoned his girlfriend and developed a passion for her mother. No wonder. Ann-Margret in this movie, as in most of her movies, looks disturbingly ravishing.
Problem is, Bubber is at least 25 years younger than the woman of his dreams. One thing leads to another, however, and they find themselves in the midst of a relatively serious affair. Ann-Margret begins by saying the affair is insane, then agrees to only one more night, then says the whole thing has to end at the end of the summer and finally finds herself a great deal more involved than she could ever have imagined.