Reviewed by: Dale and Karen Mason
Starring: Tim Allen, Sam Huntington, Lolita Davidovich, Martin Short, JoBeth Williams / Director: John Pasquin / Released by: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
As a father, employee, author and teacher in my church, I have to admit that I have a deeply serious side. My business associates and acquaintances know that. But I also love fun, and anyone who knows me well knows that to be true! So, when I heard that Tim Allen (“Home Improvement,” “The Santa Clause”…) was the star of a new “family movie,” and that it was rated “PG” (rather than “PG-13” or “R”), I smiled. I noted the showing times. And I politely asked my beloved wife to be my date for the evening. (She loves fun, too!)
I had high expectations. Perhaps this would be a comedy which I would be able to chuckle through, emerge with a gut-ache from too much laughter, and endorse to my friends.
I chuckled. I emerged with a gut-ache, but…
“Jungle 2 Jungle” is about a commodities-trading big-city fat-cat (Tim Allen as Michael Cromwell) who must fly to South America to get his estranged wife’s signature on their final divorce papers. While there, Michael has to cope in a third world rain forest culture, and learns for the first time that he has a 13-year-old son (Mimi-Siku). Michael ends up taking Mimi-Siku to New York City, which naturally leads to lots of comedy (most of which is pretty predictable, and pretty flat). The self-serving dad soon introduces his loincloth-covered jungle son to his fiance, a clothing designer. In a series of incidents reminiscent of the “Crockodile Dundee” original from the early 1980’s, Mimi-Siku, the forest-foreigner, learns about the “Big Apple” the funny way, and sets out to fulfill an important promise which he made to his village chief. At the same time Michael, the unwilling “new” dad, discovers deep feelings and an others-orientedness he had never hoped to foster. (By the way, Michael’s clothing-designer fiance is not nearly as happy about his change of heart as his estranged wife.)
This big-budget Disney production had all the elements necessary for a truly fun, frolicking comedy. Instead the good folks from Mickey-ville have presented the world with an outstanding example of mediocrity. The script bordered on poor and was riddled with over a dozen profanities and expletives, plus such cheap/debase humor as Mimi-Siku peeing in public places, reference to “big boobs,” and other not-to-be-reinforced actions and attitudes.
Sure, this film had its good elements. But, in this reviewer’s estimation, the “good” certainly does not outweigh the free flow of profanity and coarse joking.