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Jungle 2 Jungle Review

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Michael Cromwell (Allen), who has everything an American desires, heads to South America to settle his divorce. He discovers he has a twelve year-old son (Huntington) who has grown up among a native island tribe. Soon the boy is headed back home with Dad, only for various culture shock gags to ensue.

★★★★★

The French remake syndrome strikes yet again, this time with the Gallic domestic smash Un Indien Dans Le Ville (translated as Little Indian, Big City for the USA release) being given a Hollywood style makeover. And as with so many of its cousins, something appears to have been lost in translation.

Allen is Michael Cromwell, a successful New York stockbroker (he's big in coffee futures, apparently), with a perfect life, apartment, and trophy fiancee (Davidovich). Until, that is, he heads to a remote South American island to secure his divorce and discovers he has a son (Sam Huntington), who has been raised by his soon-to-be-ex-wife among the local tribes people for the last 12 years. One string of coincidences later and the pre-teen, whose idyllic existence has robbed him of such basic social niceties as an understanding of cutlery and electricity, is shipped back to the big city with dad and an order from his tribe leader to snaffle some fire from the Statue Of Liberty.

And it really isn't too difficult to figure out what happens next. A familiar succession of gags about tucking into cat food, spearing small birds, arachnids running wild and upper-crust Wall Street sorts being upset by the new arrival, are routinely trotted out until father and son bond and dad turns out to be not such an old stick-in-the-mud after all.

In the hands of a comedian of the calibre of Jim Carrey or Robin Williams, this cute idea may well have had some sparkle. Unfortunately, the most irritating thing about the film is the inexplicably popular Allen, whose frantic, brash mugging makes him generally about as welcome as haemorrhoid surgery, and the alarming prevalence of coarse one-liners which will doubtless be dismissed as censor-untroubling family fun.

It does become marginally less cringe-making in the latter half, but aside from a hilarious set piece involving a cat/tranquilliser dart interface and a vaguely entertaining Russian Mafia subplot, this is tired stuff which should have stayed at home.