Movie Review - Jungle 2 Jungle
Even Allen can't save bungle in 'Jungle'

Tim Allen BY MARGARET A. McGURK
The Cincinnati Enquirer

You'd think someone would have figured out by now that putting a big TV star in a lame movie doesn't make the movie any better. Remember Mr. Wrong? Remember Dunston Checks In? Remember Ed?

In the case of Jungle 2 Jungle, Disney already had a clue. Last year, American audiences met the French hit Little Indian, Big City with a giant yawn. Still, the studio went ahead with this remake, apparently thinking that star Tim Allen, who did so well in The Santa Clause, would somehow transform a ridiculous premise and witless jokes into a keeper.

Hardly. The story has a hard-charging New York commodities trader (Mr. Allen) discover he has a son named Mimi-Siku who has been raised in the Amazon by the doctor-wife who walked out more than 13 years ago. The kid comes home with Dad for various fish-out-of-water adventures while the old man gets caught in a numbskull subplot involving coffee bean futures and the Russian mafia.

Mr. Allen is, of course, a charming, funny guy. And he has some charming, funny moments in this movie -- they just have nothing to do with the movie. He gets laughs when he reverts to the insensitive, ill-spoken mug he plays on ABC'S Home Improvement. For instance, he gets one of his biggest laughs by addressing his son as ''Mitsubishi.''

Most of the humor is painfully labored and repetitive, as in bits involving Mimi-Siku's pet tarantula and Mr. Allen's inept attempts to use the boy's paralyzing blow darts.

Martin Short is funny in no more than tiny flashes as the trader sidekick responsible for the coffee bean mess. (Aren't futures contracts just hilarious?)

Sam Huntington does a nicely relaxed job as Mimi-Siku, despite some foolish dialogue, and shows impressive physical grace in a role that calls for lots of climbing -- as well as a flirtation with an American girl (LeeLee Sobieski).

The movie also makes nice use of beautiful locations in Venezuela that stand in for the Brazilian rain forest.

MOVIE REVIEW
Jungle 2 Jungle
**
(PG; some mild violence and language) Tim Allen, Sam Huntington. 105 minutes. At National Amusements, Danbarry Middletown, Showplace 8.