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'Jungle2Jungle' not 2 bad

Jungle2Jungle March 11, 1997
Web posted at: 3:30 a.m. EST

From Movie Reviewer Carol Buckland

(CNN) -- "Jungle2Jungle" is a mildly amusing flick about cultural clashes and family bonding.

Its biggest asset is Tim Allen, cast as a self-centered commodities broker who heads into the Amazonian rain forest to finalize a divorce from his estranged wife (JoBeth Williams) and discovers he has a 13-year-old son (Sam Huntington). Through a series of plot contrivances, he ends up bringing the boy -- who's named Mimi-Siku -- back to New York City.

movie icon 5.1MB/159 sec. QuickTime movie
movie icon 1.2MB/27 sec. QuickTime movie

Allen is amiably entertaining, doing solid work with some pretty thin material. Huntington turns in a naturally appealing performance as Mimi-Siku; he's got the stuff to be the next pre-teen heartthrob. Although her part is quite small, Williams endows her character with womanly warmth and intelligence.

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  • Martin Short has fun with his role as Allen's overwrought trading partner and the father of a teen-age girl (LeeLee Sobiesky) who catches Mimi-Siku's fancy. He and Allen make a good team as they maneuver through a farfetched subplot involving the Russian mafia and coffee futures. There's also some zingy work from Frank L. Galasso, who plays Short's smart-mouthed young son.

    Silliness and sentiment

    Lolita Davidovitch is shrilly miscast in the ill-conceived role of Allen's character's fashion-designing fiancee. She and Allen have zero chemistry.

    The screenplay, based on the French film "Un Indien Dans La Ville," is an uneven mix of silliness and sentiment leavened with occasional flashes of genuine wit. Except for some striking work in the opening sequence of the film, John Pasquin's direction isn't very memorable.

    Those going to this movie hoping for another "The Santa Clause" will be disappointed. "Jungle2Jungle" is adequate family fare, not much more.

    (This film is rated PG. That's for a couple bathroom jokes, some basically bloodless violence, plus mild profanity and sexual innuendo.)

     
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