×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

George of the Jungle 2

One of the finest and funniest made-for-video sequels ever released on the Disney label offers an unusually satisfying mix of kid-friendly broad comedy and knowing pop culture parody. Pic should please nostalgic baby boomers as well as attention deficient tykes. Expect record-setting, franchise-encouraging rental and sell-through biz.

With:
George - Christopher Showerman Ursula - Julie Benz Lyle Van de Groot - Thomas Haden Church Beatrice Stanhope - Christina Pickles George Jr. - Angus T. Jones Voice of Ape - John Cleese Voice of Mean Lion - Michael Clarke Duncan Narrator - Keith Scott

A correction was made to this review on Oct. 26, 2003.

One of the finest and funniest made-for-video sequels ever released on the Disney label, “George of the Jungle 2” offers an unusually satisfying mix of kid-friendly broad comedy and knowing pop culture parody. Pic should please nostalgic baby boomers as well as attention deficient tykes as a worthy follow-up to the 1997 smash hit based on cult-fave ’60s Jay Ward cartoon series. Expect record-setting, franchise-encouraging rental and sell-through biz.

Helmer David Grossman and scripter Jordan Moffet set tone of in-jokey, self-referential tomfoolery early on, when omniscient narrator (Keith Scott, an alumnus of original “George”) questions recasting of title role with newcomer Christopher Showerman. “Me new George,” actor blithely explains. “Studio too cheap to pay Brendan Fraser.”

Showerman quickly establishes himself as apt substitute, evidencing the same qualities — hunky physique, gracefully klutzy physicality — Fraser brought to the faux Tarzan character. Just as important, Showerman conveys, much like Fraser, a dim-bulb earnestness laced with engaging sweetness, along with a genial willingness to be the butt of many (if not most) jokes.

Sequel begins five years after first “George of the Jungle,” with George balancing work and family responsibilities in his jungle tree house. He’s a loving husband to Ursula (a nicely perky Julie Benz), the San Francisco socialite he wooed and won in previous pic, and a nurturing father to their precocious son, George Jr. (Angus T. Jones).

But George must contend with a roaring rival, Mean Lion (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan), who challenges our hero for the King of the Jungle title. Meanwhile, Ursula’s disapproving mother (Christina Pickles) plots to lure her daughter and grandson back to civilization — with the dubious assistance of Ursula’s ex-fiance, Lyle Van de Groot (Thomas Haden, another returnee from “George 1”), who now operates a Las Vegas casino.

Freewheeling plot ricochets between jungle kingdom and Vegas strip as George struggles to preserve his family, retain his crown — and rescue his best buddy, Ape (voiced by John Cleese, yet another returnee), who’s forced to work off a huge gambling debt to de Groot by singing in the casino showroom. (So what does he sing? “Hey, hey, I’m a monkey,” of course.)

Special effects and animatronic creations — including a frisky elephant and a boxing kangaroo — are feature quality. But while youngsters are impressed by high-tech trickery and amused by antic slapstick, adults likely will be more entertained by pic’s cheeky allusions to everything from “King Kong” to “The Lion King,” “Charlie’s Angels” to Shakespeare’s “Henry V.”

Anything-goes attitude of original Jay Ward cartoons often prevails, especially when narrator demonstrates just how omniscient he really is.

Reps for Caterpillar Corp. have filed suit to demand removal of a scene in which bad guys try to raze George’s jungle kingdom with company’s trademarked bulldozers. If pic is indeed recalled for re-editing, Disney also might want to consider, in light of the recent accident in Las Vegas, removing the line: “Feeling more alone than Siegfried without Roy…”

George of the Jungle 2

Production: A Walt Disney Home Video release of a Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Kerner Entertainment production. Produced by Jordan Kerner, Gregg Hoffman. Co-producer, Daniel Jason Heffner. Directed by David Grossman. Screenplay, Jordan Moffet, based on characters developed by Jay Ward.

Crew: Camera (color), David Burr; editor, Alan Cody; music, J.A.C. Redford; production designer, Stewart Burnside; sound (Dolby Digital), John Schiefelbein; animatronics, John Cox; special effects coordinator, Steve Courtney; visual effects supervisor, Bill Kent; assistant director, Darren Mallett. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Oct. 19, 2003. MPAA rating: PG. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: George - Christopher Showerman Ursula - Julie Benz Lyle Van de Groot - Thomas Haden Church Beatrice Stanhope - Christina Pickles George Jr. - Angus T. Jones Voice of Ape - John Cleese Voice of Mean Lion - Michael Clarke Duncan Narrator - Keith Scott

More Film

  • Audrey Wells

    Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China's Pearl Studio

    In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought. SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED China’s Pearl Studio has made a gift of $100,000 for endowed scholarships to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and [...]

  • Honey Boy Knock Down the House

    Sundance Hot Titles List: 13 Buzzy Films That Have Buyers Talking

    There’s a good reason that much of Hollywood braves the thin mountain air each year to make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s not to check out the nearby ski slopes. The annual launch of the indie film gathering brings with it the possibility of discovering the next big thing in moviemaking. [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Will Oscar Nominations Give This Year's Contenders a Box Office Boost?

    With nominees like “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “A Star Is Born,” the 2018 class of movies proved the Oscars don’t need a popular films category to recognize movies that also made bank in theaters. But now that the academy has selected this year’s crop of awards hopefuls, is there any green left to squeeze [...]

  • A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's

    Sundance: A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's Romance-Drama 'The Souvenir'

    A24 has bought the North American rights to Tilda Swinton’s romance-drama “The Souvenir – Part 2,” closing the deal on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival. “The Souvenir” is set to make its world premiere at Sundance on Jan. 27, followed by playing in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in February. [...]

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    Chiwetel Ejiofor Adds Authenticity to Directorial Debut by Shooting in Malawi

    When actor Chiwetel Ejiofor optioned the rights for the 2009 best-seller “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” penning the screenplay for a feature directorial debut that world-premieres in Sundance and then appears in the Berlin Film Festival before being released globally by Netflix this spring, colleagues floated the idea of shooting the Malawi-set film in tried-and-tested [...]

  • ally billboard a star is born

    Oscar Campaign Spending Reaches New Heights in Competitive Season

    The escalating cost of awards campaigning may reach an all-time high this season as heavyweights such as “Roma” and “A Star Is Born” battle for Oscar gold. The quest for an Academy Award has always been expensive, but Netflix’s hunger to nab its first best picture win, coupled with the presence of legitimate studio contenders [...]

  • The Wizard of Oz

    'The Wizard of Oz' to Return to Theaters for 80th Anniversary

    “The Wizard of Oz” is returning to theaters this weekend for a special limited engagement marking the 80th anniversary of the film’s Hollywood premiere. Fathom Events, TCM, and Warner Bros. are re-releasing the beloved family film in select theaters across the country beginning on Sunday, Jan. 27, with additional dates on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content