Come on...admit it! You watched it as a child, you sing the song and then you curse when you can't get the song out of your head.
I initially watched "George of the Jungle" for two reasons. First, I'm quite fond of star Brendan Fraser, who seems to elevate even the most trashy film. Secondly, the film features a performance by Abraham Benrubi, son of an Indianapolis disc jockey and an actor whose career I've tried to follow.
Of course, I keep forgetting two things. Fraser, despite being a great actor, has a history of picking really crappy films AND several years after Benrubi started his career he continues to struggle to make a name for himself. This film is a good example why that remains the case.
Based upon the children's cartoon, "George of the Jungle" is a silly, live action film in which George is raised in the jungle, rescues Ursula after a plane crash THEN is taken back home to adapt to city life by Ursula.
Unfortunately, even the cast's obvious awareness of the lackings of this film can't salvage it from its unintentional campiness. The actors seem to know they are in a bad film, but gosh darnit...they keep trying to make it a good film. Their effort only seems to make the failings funnier.
So many wonderful performers are completely lost here including the marvelous character actress Holland Taylor, John Cleese, and Richard Roundtree. The script is the worst kind of script for a kid's movie because it actually talks down to kids. I couldn't help but picture the kids in the row next to me looking at their mother and saying "This is stupid, mommy." Yes, "George of the Jungle" is that bad.
The film passes only on the strength of Fraser's effort. Fraser is so earnest in his desire to make a family oriented, innocent film that watching him speak ape just has to make you chuckle. It's stupid, pointless and painful...but, still, somehow funny.
As I said, Brendan Fraser elevates even the most horrid piece of crap. "George of the Jungle" is a piece of crap. Brendan Fraser elevates it. See George Run. See Ursula giggle. See George smile. See Ursula blush. See credits roll.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic