Curious George
2006 Running time: 87 Certificate: u Rating: 3
Curious George KA

Synopsis

The storybook adventures of cheeky monkey Curious George have been entertaining mischievous youngsters since 1941. His first swing at the movies is a splashy cartoon caper which features The Man With The Yellow Hat, a trip to the jungle, a jaunt round New York and lots and lots of paint. Will Ferrell, Eugene Levy and Drew Barrymore do the voices, Jack Johnson does the songs and George does the damage.

Director

  • Matthew O'Callaghan

Cast

  • Frank Welker

  • Will Ferrell

  • Drew Barrymore

  • Dick Van Dyke

Review

The cute creation of German authors Margret and HA Rey is perhaps not as popular in the UK as elsewhere, but international book sales topping 30 million tell their own story.

Even more remarkable is that George first appeared in print in 1941, so it's taken 65 years - and a big-name producer Ron Howard - for him to make his big-screen debut.

And a jolly fine debut it is. Beginning with George showing his inquisitive credentials, it swiftly moves to New York where enthusiastic museum guide Ted (readers know him better as The Man In The Yellow Hat, but we'll come to that) receives bad news.

Unless attendances pick up, doddery museum owner Mr Bloomsberry (Dick Van Dyke) will have to let his money-mad son Bloomsberry Jr turn the place into a car park.

In a moment of madness, Ted (voiced by Ferrell) volunteers to go to Africa, find the lost shrine of Zagawa, bring it back and watch the crowds queue round the block.

Buying a bright yellow safari suit (plus matching hat) is not a good start to his jungle trip and, alas, Ted's mission fails. He even loses his hat.

But the inquisitive little monkey who has it is happy to come all the way to the Big Apple to give it back. (Strictly speaking, George is a chimp. Want a taxonomy lesson? Go to the zoo.)

Now Ted has two problems: an exhibition with no exhibit and a new friend whose innocent exterior hides a knack for causing mayhem. Much to Bloomsberry Jr's annoyance, George also has a gift for saving the day.

So what if Jack Johnson's songs are essentially the same tune played at different tempos and the animation isn't the most sophisticated you'll ever see (it looks like a feature-length Coco Pops advert)?

This is good, messy, cartoon fun which even slips in the odd wry smile for grown-ups. When it comes to keeping little monkeys out of mischief, Curious George is top banana.

Elliott Noble

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