GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE
Starring Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, Thomas Haden Church, Holland Taylor
Director Sam Weisman
Opens July 18
Fraser sports a loincloth and 6 percent body fat, but don’t let the physique fool you. George is still vine challenged: ”He’s a well-intentioned, enthusiastic guy who just misjudges,” says director Weisman, whose film aspires to the subversive sensibility of Jay Ward’s late-’60s TV cartoon. To achieve that end there’s Shep, the elephant who thinks he’s a dog; Ape, George’s long-suffering mentor (voiced by John Cleese); an ark-load of real, man-made, and computer-generated creatures; plus $2 million worth of jungle. The plot: George rescues on-safari socialite Ursula (Mann) and causes her to rethink plans to marry snooty Lyle (Haden Church). Fraser had to invent a rhythm for his character’s lingo (”nouveau iambic pentameter,” he calls it) and his own yell. ”I just squeezed my butt cheeks,” says Fraser, ”and screamed.” UPSIDE Boomers who loved the cartoon now have children to share it with. DOWNSIDE Does anyone love the cartoon?