Jungle 2 Jungle
Jungle 2 Jungle is a 1997 Franco-American comedy film directed by John Pasquin, produced by Walt Disney Pictures and TF1 Films Productions, and starring Tim Allen, Martin Short, Lolita Davidovich, David Ogden Stiers, JoBeth Williams, Leelee Sobieski in her feature film debut, and Sam Huntington as Mimi-Siku. It is an American remake of the 1994 French film Un indien dans la ville (also known as Little Indian, Big City). Jungle 2 Jungle's plot follows the original film fairly closely, with the biggest difference being the change in location from Paris to New York.
|Jungle 2 Jungle|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Pasquin|
|Produced by||Richard Baker|
|Written by||Bruce A. Evans|
|Music by||Michael Convertino|
|Edited by||Michael A. Stevenson|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
Michael Cromwell (Tim Allen) is a self-absorbed commodities broker living in New York City. Wanting to marry his new fiancée Charlotte (Lolita Davidovich), he needs to obtain a divorce from his first wife Patricia (JoBeth Williams) who left him some years earlier. Patricia now lives with a semi-Westernised tribe in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Michael travels there to get her signature on divorce papers, but upon arriving, discovers that he has a 13-year-old son named Mimi-Siku (Sam Huntington).
Michael attempts to bond with Mimi-Siku in his brief stay with the tribe and promises to take him to New York "when he is a man." Michael is also given a new name, Baboon, as is a custom in the tribe. That night, Mimi-Siku undergoes the traditional rite of passage of his tribe, who then considers him to be a man. The tribal elder gives Mimi a special task: to become a tribal leader one day, Mimi must bring fire from the Statue of Liberty. A reluctant Michael brings Mimi-Siku to New York with him.
Charlotte is less than pleased about Mimi-Siku and his primitive ways. As Michael attempts to adapt Mimi-Siku to city life, cross-cultural misunderstandings occur when Mimi-Siku reverts to customs considered acceptable by his tribe. On climbing the Statue of Liberty to reach the flame, Mimi-Siku is disappointed when he sees that the fire is not real.
While staying at the home of Michael's partner Richard Kempster (Martin Short), Mimi-Siku falls in love with Richard's daughter Karen (Leelee Sobieski). He paints her face and gives her a new name, Ukume, as is the custom in his tribe. Richard resents Mimi's presence in his home due to his influence over Karen and because he cooked and ate his valuable, prize-winning Poecilia latipinna fish. Richard freaks out when he sees his daughter and Mimi together in a hammock and threatens to send her to an all-girls summer camp.
The Kempsters and Michael are targeted by Alexei Jovanovic (David Ogden Stiers), a Russian mobster and caviar dealer, who believes that they have cheated him in a business deal. Jovanovic arrives at the Kempsters' and tortures Richard for info. By fighting together and utilizing Mimi-Siku's hunting skills (and Maitika), the two families fight off Jovanovic's group.
Mimi-Siku returns to the Amazon jungle, but before he leaves, his father gives him a satellite phone so they can stay in touch. Michael also presents Mimi with a Statue of Liberty cigarette lighter, which produces fire from the torch and will fulfill Mimi's quest. In return, Mimi gives his father a blowpipe and poisoned darts, telling Michael to practice and come to see him when he can hit flies.
Shortly afterwards, Michael finds himself disheartened by the rat-race and realizes that his relationship with Charlotte is not working for him anymore. He attempts to kill a fly with his blowpipe on the trading floor of the New York Board of Trade. He hits the fly, but also Langston, his boss, who collapses asleep on the trading floor.
Michael returns to Lipo-Lipo to see his son and ex-wife, bringing the Kempster family with him for a vacation. Karen and Mimi are reunited, and it is suggested that Michael and Patricia also resume their relationship.
As the credits start rolling, Michael undergoes the rite of passage as Mimi did earlier.
- Tim Allen as Michael Cromwell
- Martin Short as Richard Kempster
- Sam Huntington as Mimi-Siku Cromwell
- JoBeth Williams as Dr. Patricia Cromwell
- Lolita Davidovich as Charlotte
- David Ogden Stiers as Alexei Jovanovic
- Valerie Mahaffey as Jan Kempster
- Leelee Sobieski as Karen Kempster
- Luis Avalos as Abe
- Frankie J. Galasso as Andrew Kempster
- Carole Shelley as Fiona Glockman
- Bob Dishy as George Langston
- Dominic Keating as Ian
- Rondi Reed as Sarah
- Oni Faida Lampley as Madeleine
Roger Ebert, who deplored the original French version Little Indian, Big City, confessed that he was hoping the Americanized remake would be better than the original version, due to it starring Tim Allen and Martin Short, whom he had admired as comic actors. Ebert was sorely disappointed by the film, giving it one star out of four, a small step from his original zero star rating for Little Indian, Big City. On his television program Siskel and Ebert, Ebert said Jungle 2 Jungle was not as bad as Little Indian, Big City because it was "far too mediocre to be terrible." He also described it as "lamebrained, boring, predictable, long, and slow", and added that while the French version was memorably bad, Jungle 2 Jungle was "just forgettable". Ebert's colleague Gene Siskel mildly disagreed, specifying that he felt Jungle 2 Jungle was just as bad as Little Indian, Big City. He also said he felt embarrassed for Allen and Short, as he felt they were used far better in other television programs and films. Siskel later went on to declare Jungle 2 Jungle the worst film of 1997.
At the 1997 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, the film was listed as one of 30 dishonourable mentions for Worst Picture and was noted under the Founders Award, which lamented the year's biggest studio disgraces. Referencing Siskel's pick for worst film of the year (they called it "a horrendous embarrassment for Disney"), the Stinkers stated that it had "just as many laughs as Little Indian, Big City (zero) and we're being generous" and added that Disney needed to stop remaking so many films.