By LISA MARIE MEYER
“George of the Jungle” swung into theaters over the weekend, providing goofy comic relief.
Based on the 1967 cartoon of the same name, the movie holds to its animated origins. Jay Ward, the animation creator of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and “Fractured Fairy Tales” was the one who brought the cartoon series to life.
Ward once described George as “a lovable, brawny, but navigationally-challenged” character. Brenden Fraser, who played George in the movie, was a perfect cast for the role.
“I don’t think anyone who loved the cartoons will be at all disappointed,” Fraser said in a news release.
The basic plot is jungle boy meets urban socialite. George grew up without any human contact, so his English-speaking animal friends are his companions. However, when Ursula Stanhope, played by Leslie Mann, goes on a safari expedition, George meets her and falls in love.
Problems arise when Ursula’s snobby fiancee, Lyle Van de Groot, attempts to thwart the relationship. Other goons try to cash in on George’s mentor, a talking monkey, and Ursula’s mother is less than pleased with George’s primitive social status.
A narrator guides the viewer through some of the scenes, and his interactions with the characters add further silliness. Other antics include an elephant who thinks he’s a dog, an educated gorilla who likes to play chess and clumsy George who crashes into trees, leaving imprints on the bark.
Screen-It movie review (www.screenit.com) stated, “Obviously aimed at the younger children in the audience, and surprisingly and enjoyably self-deprecating, this film is extremely goofy, but quite a bit of fun.”
Although primarily geared for children, I found myself laughing throughout the film.
Better than expected, I recommend “George of the Jungle” for the dollar theater.