Mini Movie Review (JUNGLE CRUISE)

JUNGLE CRUISE (2021), a silly Disney movie based on one of its amusement park rides, is often barely watchable. The three central characters are fun, however. Lovely and talented Emily Blunt pulls off being the story’s moral center (for what that’s worth, but somebody usually needs to fill that role) and, frequently, the leader. Jack Whitehead, who is new to me, is amusing and endearing as he evolves from hothouse flower, gay British dandy to someone with more grit and fortitude by the end. And Dwayne Johnson is simply a hunk of guilty pleasure for me. He’s the predictable testosterone for the show but kept in his place by the other two, particularly Ms. Blunt’s character. He and Emily have a playful chemistry throughout. Blunt and Whitehead especially demonstrate good comic timing and reactions.

I can’t remember the names of any of the dramatis personae, because the superficialness of them all renders such details irrelevant, forgettable. And I could have cared less about the cliché plot (an expedition into the jungle for some ancient, magical panacea), slapstick style action sequences, and ridiculous CGI. These special effects often felt like attempts to resurrect scenes from the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies. Nothing is original here. But, the enjoyable dynamics of the core triad and the occasional screen frame of actual, unadulterated (by CGI) lush vegetation redeem this absurdly high budget trashy movie into being periodically watchable. And I did like seeing Dwayne Johnson dressed in a fuchsia-magenta suit and hat at the very end. Cute, like many other moments in the movie, cute.

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