‘Jumanji 2’ review: good old-fashioned clean fun

Wild life: Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson   | Photo Credit: Frank Masi

Two decades is a long time to wait for any sequel and no one can ever fill Robin William’s hilariously huge shoes. But Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle though doesn’t even try. Instead the so-called part two merely borrows the name and game of its predecessor to give audiences a humorous action adventure.

The film has four teenagers getting sucked into Jumanji, which now has transformed into a video game to continue consuming its share of unsuspecting victims. But when the four enter the game’s universe, the jungle, they’re the characters they’ve picked out to play. Skinny, geeky Spencer (Alex Wolff) becomes the muscled and towering Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). The massive football jock Anthony ‘Fridge’ turns into the very short Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar (Kevin Hart). Shy and studious Martha gets into the body of fierce fighter Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). Finally, popular cheerleader Bethany’s avatar turns out to be the ‘curvy’ Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black).

Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Director: Jake Kasdan
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale
  • Story line: The game, Jumanji has sucked four kids into its universe who must complete the video game to return home

The incongruence of their real-life personalities and video game roles make up for most of the laughs. The jokes fire away like a machine gun giving little respite to your face, but you won’t complain. Wouldn’t you want to see the boulder-like Rock whisper to himself to not cry? Well, he does do that including uttering a squeal that no adult ever should. But it’s Black who steals the show, from start to end as a teenage girl stuck in a middle-aged man’s body. He’s never hammy for example, using a limp wrist to be feminine. There’s even a scene where Black as Bethany has to teach Martha’s Ruby how to flirt. Let’s just say, the actor’s skills could definitely get a man’s attention.

Much of the film’s lure is in its writing. There’s an engaging premise about completing tasks and fulfilling missions to finish the game. But it pales in comparison to the chemistry between the cast. There are unlikely friendships formed and reconciliation of severed relationships. It’s all so wholesome, that Jumanji 2 could well have tipped over that nauseating saccharine edge. It doesn’t though and the huge team of writers — Jake Kasdan (incidentally also the film’s director), Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner — never once lose their audience’s attention.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 3:27:32 PM |

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