×
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

  • Calamity Jane

    Indie Sales Acquires Remi Chayé's Female-Driven Animated Feature 'Calamity' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris-based company Indie Sales (“My Life as a Zucchini”) has acquired Rémi Chayé’s animated film “Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” the French helmer’s follow up to his critically acclaimed feature debut “Long Way North.” “Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary” tells the story of the 12-year-old Martha Jane who must [...]

  • Scarlett Johansson on 2020 Election, Avengers

    Scarlett Johansson on Running for Office: 'Maybe at Some Point'

    Pres. Scarlett Johansson, anyone? While she may not be running for office at the moment, Johansson says a campaign may be in her future. “Maybe some time in the future,” she says when asked if her political activism has inspired her own aspirations. “I think the greatest way to effect change is in local politics. [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Netflix Acquires Tribeca Doc 'Circus of Books,' Exec Produced by Ryan Murphy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Circus of Books” ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Rachel Mason wrote and directed the pic, and also produced it along with Kathryn Robson, Cynthia Childs, Camilla Hall and Adam Baron. Ryan Murphy, Josh Braun, John Battsek, Rhianon Jones and Gerald Herman executive produced. [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

  • Brie Larson Takes On 'Beat Saber'

    Brie Larson Takes on 'Beat Saber' With Jimmy Fallon

    “Avengers: Endgame’s” Brie Larson took to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to play around in virtual reality. After chatting with Fallon about the upcoming Marvel superhero flick, Larson got hooked up with an HTC Vive with the talk show hit to give “Beat Saber” a try. Fallon was first up, who played through a [...]

  • Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan

    Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan Doc Hits Netflix June 12 (EXCLUSIVE)

    You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, but Bob Dylan fans have been waiting for some kind of reliable forecast to know when “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” might be rolling in. Here’s that storm alert: Netflix will be releasing the documentary June 12. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content