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Laramie Movie Scope:
George of the Jungle

A very funny sendup of Tarzan and Crocodile Dundee

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 20, 1997 -- "George of the Jungle" is a very enjoyable goofball comedy in the Disney tradition of smart animals and dumb humans.

Not having seen the television cartoon series, I really didn't know what to expect. It quickly became obvious that this film wasn't going to waste time on subtlety. It starts right off with barnyard humor, including men getting hit in the crotch, falling in dung, being gassed by flatulence and showered with elephant urine. What did you expect? It's a jungle out there.

Although the humor is decidedly low-brow, it is disarming. When a man falls off a rope bridge into a chasm that appears to be about half a mile deep, the narrator assures us that nobody will get killed in this film, but the man will get a very big boo-boo. In the next scene we see the same man with a small bandage on his head on a tiny red spot and the narrator says "see?"

The movie also makes fun of movie clichés such as the native porters making fun of the very obnoxious Lyle Vandergroot (Thomas Haden Church). Vandergroot is the fiancée of Ursula Stanhope (Leslie Mann). Vandergroot, however, is such a twit that she can't possibly end up with him.

She is rescued from that awful fate by George of the Jungle, hilariously played by Brendan Fraser. Fraser's goofy facial expressions and his quality of innocent silliness enable him to steal every scene he is in.

Another scene-stealer is a computer-animated elephant that has to be seen to be believed. There's also a cute little monkey, an ape who is smarter (voice by John Cleese) than any human character in the movie, and assorted other cute critters, long a Disney specialty. Richard Roundtree, who once was Shaft, has a bit part in the film as a native guide in Africa.

The film comes across as a sort of cross between Tarzan and "Crocodile Dundee." It is a very funny romp from the wilds of Africa to the Golden Gate Bridge. While Ursula and George are very stupid characters, they are also charming and likable. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)