Jungle 2 Jungle

on March 07, 1997 by Christine James
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   This remake of "Un Indien Dans La Ville," released just last year stateside under the name "Indian in the City," is simplistic but family-friendly fare. Tim Allen plays Michael, a self-absorbed materialistic businessman who wants to marry the beautiful but shallow Charlotte (Lolita Davidovich). But first, he must travel to the remote South American isle of Lipo Lipo to find his estranged wife (JoBeth Williams), a philanthropic doctor who left Michael 13 years earlier to live among tribal villagers and provide them with medical treatment. Only the necessity of getting his divorce papers signed could bring Michael to such a technologically devoid land. He is of course very uncomfortable in this tropical setting, alternating between fear of the indigenous wildlife and dismay at the lack of an electrical outlet for his laptop computer. But the biggest surprise comes when a loinclothed, war-painted 13-year-old named Mimi Siku (Sam Huntington) is introduced to him as his son.
   The two manage to overcome to a degree their cultural differences and begin to bond. When it's time for Michael to return to the urban jungle of New York, Mimi Siku insists on coming along. Reluctantly, Michael acquiesces.
   From there, the mayhem ensues in predictable directions. Mimi Siku's savage gastronomical predilections put numerous household pets in constant danger of becoming lunch. The cartoonishly superficial fiancee is terrified by her future stepson's pet tarantula. Poison darts hit unsuspecting posteriors and all forms of civilized etiquette are summarily breached. Thrown in for additional anything-that-can-go-wrong-will momentum is a silly sideplot in which David Ogden Stiers plays a shady Russian businessman who chops off the fingers of anyone who crosses him--and he believes Michael and his frenetic partner Richard (Martin Short) have done just that.
   "Jungle 2 Jungle" will satisfy kids and undemanding audiences<197>and angel-faced scamp Sam Huntington is sure to send 12-year-old girls' hearts a-flutter. The humor is even but unambitious: The biggest laugh seems to come when Michael accidentally shoots his girlfriend's spoiled cat with a sleep-inducing blow dart. Those who think this a hilarious idea will find "Jungle 2 Jungle" is filled with numerous similarly-veined hijinks--but little more. Nevertheless, the film is well-paced and warm-hearted, with uniform chuckles. Starring Tim Allen, Sam Huntington, Martin Short and Lolita Davidovich. Directed by John Pasquin. Written by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon. Produced by Brian Reilly. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. Rated PG. Running time: 105 min.
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