Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The new Jumanji movie is bigger and dumber than the previous, a feat considering the relentless clatter of the 1995 iteration. This time, the kids-to-be-harrowed -- bickering, single-trait high schoolers -- turn their noses up at the very idea of board games. Jumanji obliges, transmuting into a form they will find more appealing: a 16-bit video game cartridge.

Unable to resist retro-game tech, our bored heroes thunk this new-old Jumanji into a vintage console, select the characters they wish to play and then, ka-blammo, all get sucked into the game itself -- and into the bodies of their in-game avatars. The freshest element here is body-swap comedy, which finds a high school schlemiel (Alex Wolff) inhabiting man-mountain Dwayne Johnson, a selfie-obsessed popular girl (Madison Iseman) mired in the form of Jack Black and a cocksure football king (Ser'Darius Blain) who gets stuck as Kevin Hart. Johnson gets to yammer antsily, which is good for a couple of laughs. Black, pitching his voice high and complaining about being fat and middle-aged, attempts to find the inner-life-of-a-blonde cliche. Expect much spirited talk about penises.

A final teen, a bright but awkward young woman (Morgan Jeanette Turner), gets embodied by Karen Gillan, whose short-shorts and midriff-baring T-shirt are flimsily justified by the filmmakers -- Jake Kasdan and a boatload of credited writers -- as satire. Gillan, after all, is playing a '90s video-game heroine; the funniest scene involves this uncertain kid trying to pilot that body alluringly.

Rather than wild, the jungle here is about team-building and occasional action scenes whose gist you may get from the blur of movement. To describe it for another sentence would be to waste your time and mine.

Director:

  • Jake Kasdan

Cast:

  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Jack Black
  • Kevin Hart
  • Karen Gillan
  • Nick Jonas
  • Bobby Cannavale

Writers:

  • Chris McKenna
  • Jeff Pinkner
  • Scott Rosenberg
  • Erik Sommers

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is not showing in any theaters in the area.

  • By Film...

    By Theater...