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George of the Jungle

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: George of the Jungle

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann
Director: Sam Weisman
Rated: PG
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: July 1997
Genres: Comedy, Family, Kids

*Also starring: Thomas Haden Church, Richard Roundtree, John Cleese, Greg Cruttwell, Abraham Benrubi, Holland Taylor, Kelly Miller

Review by Walter Frith
0 stars out of 4

Have you ever started watching a movie inside a theatre and about 15 minutes into the feature presentation you can't wait to leave? That is exactly the feeling created as 'George of the Jungle' unfolds. Based on the cartoon of the same name, 'George of the Jungle' is an absolutely abysmal offering from Walt Disney Pictures and it looks as if Disney now believes that movie audiences will buy into anything and I do mean ANYTHING. The first few minutes of the film features an exploration team deep in the jungles of Africa whose leader (the cast mostly features nameless, tasteless and untalented wannabe actors) is a rich snob and immediately sickens the audience with his unlikable and obnoxious personality. His bride to be has a voice that could crack glass and torture the most vicious attack dogs all in the same breath and she immediately becomes embroiled in a jungle confrontation with a lion.

Enter George (Brendan Fraser). He's a jungle hero raised by nature when he was separated from his family in a plane crash when he was an infant. Naturally he saves her from peril and proceeds to use a few pro-wrestling moves (clothesline, elbow drop and suplex) all in cartoon fashion which exploits cruelty to animals in extremely poor taste. We laugh about that sort of thing in cartoons as politically incorrect as it may seem in today's day and age but for some reason it doesn't work here in live action. George's companion is a gorillas named "Ape" voiced by John Cleese and George is soon rewarded by the girl he saved as she takes him back to America (San Francisco to be exact) and introduces her to her very wealthy family and friends. She is engaged to a man suited to her position and George returns to his jungle for the film's climax.

Brendan Fraser is such a talented young actor whose work in such films as 'School Ties' and 'With Honors' was a treat and I don't understand the reason he chose this jaw dropping project of extremely crude and unfunny material. I saw 'George of the Jungle' on opening day with a theatre filled mostly with small children and their parents and the laughs were very few and far between so there goes the theory of appealing to the kiddies and upon looking around the theatre some parents were shaking their heads and putting their hands in front of their face in embarrassment. I saw it with my 69 year old father who kept falling asleep.

'George of the Jungle' is a live action film based on a cartoon that features visuals and sound effects derived directly from cartoon antics and it features people falling in excrement, animals expiring gas from the bottom end in people's faces, wooden dialogue, quick scenes of lost logic, and faceless performances with no creative turns from anybody behind the camera. If this film were edible, you would get food poisoning. Definitely a candidate for worst film of 1997 (that honor still belongs to John Leguizamo's 'The Pest' until I digest this one further) and one of the worst films of the 90's.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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