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   GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (1997) 

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CAST
Brendan Fraser
Leslie Mann
Holland Taylor
John Perry
Thomas Haden Church
John Cleese

DIRECTED BY
Sam Weisman

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 91 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Comedy/Romance


GEORGE is a silly, love story both children and adults can enjoy, though for vastly different reasons. It doesn't tax the brain, but it does touch the heart. Fraser brings the lovable and naive George endearingly to life with a newly buff bod wrapped in nothing but a loin cloth that is a site to behold. This being a family film, George's clumsy nature and elastic facial expressions help diffuse the sexiness of his near nakedness. Though the film is filled with the requisite pratfalls and bathroom humor expected in kiddie fare these days, the romance and adventure make it more palatable for people over the age of 10.

Raised in the wilderness by apes, George has never seen another human being before. His first encounter is with Ursala (Mann), a beautiful, young, blond heiress who gets lost while on safari. He falls instantly in love, which isn't difficult since she's the only woman he's ever met. Fortunately for him, she's sweet, smart and understanding. The exact opposite of her boyfriend Lyle (Church), a lazy, money-hungry creep using Ursala as his ticket to the high life. When compared to Lyle, George is a real catch. Who cares whether he has money, a job or knows how to use a fork? No woman would be able to resist a man with that hard body and cute smile. I'd move to the jungle to ensure he never had to wear a shirt again.

Lyle's not about to go away without a fight. He's worked too hard to lose the girl of his monetary dreams to a hulking, brainless imbecile. Using George's ignorance of the ways of man against him, he manages to get Ursala to return to the real world without her jungle love. Much to Lyle's dismay, George ventures to San Francisco to find Ursala and declare his love. What he learns are valuable lessons about the rules of the urban jungle. Ursala's high society mother (Taylor), is not about to let her daughter marry a man with manners no better than an ape. She threatens George, sending him back to the jungle with his tail between his legs. Of course, this is what makes Ursala realize her true love for George. She races back to the jungle where they, of course, live happily ever after.


"To swing or not to swing? Swing."

The humor is generally on the silly side, but that only serves to keep the kids interested while the adults (at least all the women) dream about a life amongst the banana trees with a tan, buff vine-swinger. Fraser keeps the mood light and proves amply capable of carrying a feature film. Mann is cute and spunky, just the right leading lady for someone like George. She and Fraser have great chemistry, showing their love without being too mushy. Lyle is such an unlikable character it's hard to imagine how any woman, especially one like Ursala, would date him. This is the film's biggest flaw. Granted the main audience is kids, but he could have been a little more fleshed out. The apes seem more human. One can't fault Hayden Church. He is clearly doing the best job with what he's given. Ursala's dilemma is practically non-existent when one considers the options. I guess I should be happy the film had a plot at all. A sweetly told romantic comedy that will put a smile on everyone's face.



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