With its deft blend of slapstick, sharp humor and movie satire Jay Ward's late '60s cartoon George of the Jungle, provided a refreshing break from the insipidness of most Saturday morning cartoons. While many naysayers did not feel… More With its deft blend of slapstick, sharp humor and movie satire Jay Ward's late '60s cartoon George of the Jungle, provided a refreshing break from the insipidness of most Saturday morning cartoons. While many naysayers did not feel it possible, this charming and funny live-action Disney adaptation stays true to the spirit of the original cartoon. An animated prologue explains how George came to be raised in the jungles of Bukuvu by the highly-educated talking primate Ape (voiced by John Cleese). The story jumps ahead a couple decades and Tarzan-like George (Brendan Fraser) has grown up. Unlike Edgar Rice Burrough's jungle man, George, while dashing and handsome, is a total klutz with a tendency to swing smack into trees or other immovable objects every time he takes to a vine. Ape and his faithful elephant Shep (who thanks to clever special effects acts exactly like an enthusiastic dog) are his primary companions until one day George rescues sexy San Francisco socialite Ursula Stanhope (Leslie Mann) from a deadly situation. This doesn't set well with her fiance Lyle Van de Groot (Thomas Haden Church) who had earlier shown up to surprise her. Back at George's tree house, the dashing swinger finds himself puzzled by the strange inner promptings that arise when Ursula is near. Ape does his best to explain, but simple doesn't know enough about human reproductive rites to be much help. The vengeful Lyle (who was humiliated during the rescue) and his entourage eventually catch up with George and convince him to go to San Francisco where considerable hilarity ensues as he tries to adjust to life in the urban jungle.
Consensus: George of the Jungle is faithful to its source material -- which, unfortunately, makes it a less-than-compelling feature film.