When a baby boy is left in the African jungle, he grows up in the company of animals to become George (Brendan Fraser), a handsome but clumsy vine-swinger. When George meets beautiful career woman Ursula, he is so smitten with her that he ends up leaving his jungle home and travelling to San Francisco with her, where the adventures really begin.
Disney scored an unexpected hit with this goofy live-action remake of Jay Ward's Saturday-morning cartoon, a zippy Tarzan parody with topical references and absurd gags. Disney's big-screen version, George of the Jungle
starring Brendan Fraser as the sweet, hopelessly inept jungle hero, puts the emphasis on slapstick and silly fun. The klutzy hero, still swinging into trees and stray boulders, saves a lost Los Angeles socialite (Leslie Mann) on safari and, completely smitten, leaves behind his tree-house home and simian best friend (an Oxford-accented ape voiced by John Cleese) to accompany the socialite back to the concrete jungle of LA, much to the frustration of her conniving fiancé (Thomas Haden Church). Fraser's enthusiastic performance enriches our hunky hero with endearing innocence and energetic pluck. The humour is spotty and consistently more juvenile than the original cartoon, but the unending parade of visual gags (including George's pet elephant Shep, transformed into an overexcited six-tonne puppy by inventive digital effects) keeps the tone light, frothy and winningly fun. --Sean Axmaker