George of the Jungle (1997)

Watch out for that theme!  George, George, George of the Jungle 
will stay in your head for a *week* after watching this agreeable 
adaptation of Jay Ward's classic 'toon.  Brendan Fraiser (ENCINO 
MAN, AIRHEADS) is a dead-on delight as the butt-flapped tree knock-
er.  I can't recall a comic performance this...  rich since Eddie 
Murphy's nutty professor.  He's backed by a surprisingly spry sup-
porting cast:  Anne Heche lookalike Leslie Mann as that funny-look-
ing fella Ursula (envisioned here as an heiress on safari), Thomas 
Haden Church as her finicky fiancee, Keith Scott as the wisecrack-
ing narrator ("Meanwhile, at a very big and expensive waterfall 
set"), and John Cleese as the voice of George's tree house compan-
ion, a hyper-intelligent ape named Ape.  Oh, and Richard Roundtree 
also appears as an African trail guide, though I believe even *he* 
has more screen time than the woefully underutilized Cleese.  (Ape 
*does* get his due in the film's final scene, however, which may be 
the wackiest bit in the entire movie.)  Director Sam Weisman (BYE 
BYE, LOVE, D2: THE MIGHTY DUCKS) has the tone down pat, but his 
pacing leaves a lot to be desired.  That GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE isn't 
frantic through and through is probably a good thing for the smal-
ler kids in the audience.  And their slower-witted parents.  (Rated 
"PG"/96 min.)

Grade: B-
Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: July 27, 1997

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