Jungle 2 Jungle (1997)

reviewed by
Ted Prigge


                              JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE
                       A film review by Ted Prigge
                        Copyright 1997 Ted Prigge

Director: John Pasquin Writers: Bruce A. Evans and Raymond A. Gideon Starring: Tim Allen, Sam Huntington, Martin Short, Lolita Davidovitch, JoBeth Williams, David Ogden Stiers, Leelee Sobieski

Okay, I just don't know why, but I seem to be getting this diversion to Disney-made real-life actors movies...as well as real-life acting Tim Allen movies. I couldn't even make it through "The Santa Clause," so why did I even see this? (just to make an idle point, I DID like "Toy Story," but that was good) Also, I have this aversion to bad French farces, and if they remake them into American films. Well, this is my excuse: it was prom night, I'm not a prom person, my best friend and I impulsively went to the Drive-Ins where they were playing "Grosse Pointe Blank" - wouldn't mind seeing it again - but I had to suffer through this first. I agreed to go. Ugh.

In all fairness, I can say that at least this inane plot wasn't dreamed by an American. It was originally a french film released in America under the pseudonym of "Little Indian, Big City" (French title - "Un Indien dans la ville"). I stayed away from it like it was limburgher, and according to Roger Ebert, that was a good idea. But I can only imagine how bad that must be if this is an improvement.

The stupid plot concerns a father who just learns he has a son from his current marriage. Let me clarify: his wife (JoBeth Williams) left him years ago, and I mean years - around 13 or so - and went to an island in the Carribean or something. He goes to her to FINALLY get the divorce papers signed so he can remarry this...thing (played with an emphasis on over-done by Lolita Davidovitch, who is usually good). She tells him he has a son as his boatman goes off. He meets him, he has a weird name (Mimi Seku, I think...or as the bad joke goes - "Mitsubishi" - laugh track cue), he knows english, they fish, more bad jokes, pirhanna joke, the kid has a pet spider, he makes a promise to take him to the statue of liberty...you know the drill.

Now this is where the plot complicates (well, complicates for this one, at least): the Fish-Out-of-Water joke switches from Tim Allen on an island to his island son in New York City. Tim is a stock broker and his coffee profits are plunging because his laptop died and he wasn't able to communicate with his assistant or whatever he is - Martin Short. A russian mob is tossed into the plot somewhere (how come in EVERY hokey french import, there is a mob?!) Tim learns a lesson of life from his son and we discover that cellular phones can operate on an island even though there are no sockets to recharge the batteries.

The story is crap, the jokes are hokey and not really funny, and the actors have to struggle to make it interesting. But the material is so fowl that even a rewrite by Quentin Tarantino couldn't help it. The whole time, I kept thinking that a grown person had to think this up and several more grown people had to do this. At the end of filming, did they all scream out, "We've made a great movie, guys!" I sure hope not.

Big Question to Get From This Film: why would someone want to remake what was billed as one of the worst films of all time if they're just going to do it the exact same way? Huh?

MY RATING (out of 5): * (for some of the actors' names and a joke or two that made me chuckle, I guess...okay, so I really feel bad for it, so I only gave it one star)


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