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George of the Jungle 2 (October 20/03)

It's hard to really criticize George of the Jungle 2, since it's clearly not intended for adults. The film's been unabashedly geared towards kids, with its colorful set design and goofy sensibility. And while the movie never really becomes all-out boring - it moves far too quickly for that ever to happen - there's only so much of George's over-the-top shenanigans a guy can take.

Picking up where the first one left off, George of the Jungle 2 casts relative newcomer Christopher Showerman as the titular character (because, as he informs us, the studio was "too cheap" to re-hire Brendan Fraser). Everything's going fine for George, until the evil Lyle (Thomas Haden Church, reprising his role from the original) conspires to destroy George's beloved jungle and kidnap his wife. In order to combat Lyle, George calls upon his old friend Ape (once again voiced by John Cleese) and the various other jungle buddies introduced in the first film (including George's pet elephant, Shep, and his loyal feathered friend Tookie-Tookie).

George of the Jungle 2 has the same sort of easy going vibe as the first one, and the film never takes itself too seriously. From the moment a reference is made to Fraser, it's fairly clear that we're not meant to treat the film as anything other than a live-action cartoon. It's the sort of movie that kids will enjoy the heck out of, forcing their parents to watch it again and again. And for us adults, it's not an entirely unpleasant experience - what with Showerman's enthusiastically clueless performance and an eclectic supporting cast (including Michael Clarke Duncan as the voice of a would-be lion king).

But the rampant silliness becomes too much, and the film eventually wears out its welcome. The brisk pace and vibrant visuals go a long way, but it's just not enough to keep elevate the material to anything beyond a mildly amusing kiddie flick.

out of

About the DVD: Aside from the stunningly crisp and bright anamorphic transfer, Disney's done a nice job of including extras that'll appeal to both adults and children. An eight-minute behind the "trees" featurette shows us how the various special effects were accomplished, and has that same loopy sense of humor as the film. Also included are seven deleted scenes, 30 seconds worth of bloopers, a silly vine surfing game that doesn't seem to have any reward to it, and the requisite Disney bonus trailers.
© David Nusair