The lone survivor of a plane crash in the jungle when he was a sprog, muscle-bound George (Fraser) swings through the trees like Tarzan (except the few-bananas-short-of-a-bunch George tends to crash into most of them) and keeps company with a pet elephant named Shep and a professorial talking ape (voiced by John Cleese). That is, until the day he saves heiress Ursula (Leslie Mann) from a lion, and ends up travelling back with her to the United States to meet her upper-crust folks.
There’s a funny subplot about inept poachers with their eye on the talking ape, and another involving Ursula’s pain-in-the-butt fiancé (Haden Church, who grown-ups will recognise from his praised turn in Sideways), but the film – based on a comic strip and TV series – really belongs to the hilariously daft Fraser. Made for all ages, this hasn’t exactly got a taxing plot and is sometimes too silly for words, but both young and old will no doubt revel in the utter stupidity of it all.
A poor DVD sequel, unimaginatively titled George of the Jungle 2 (2003), sent our hero to Las Vegas to help his pal Ape. Church and Cleese returned, but alas there’s no Brendan Fraser – his role is played by Christopher Showerman.
Is George Of The Jungle suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...