25 March 2014 | Hellmant
Jean-Claude Van Damme tries his hand at comedy!
'WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE': Three Stars (Out of Five)
Jean-Claude Van Damme tries his hand at comedy with this workforce island retreat slapstick adventure film also starring Adam Brody, Rob Huebel, Megan Boone, Kristen Schaal and Dennis Haysbert. Brody plays an insecure office worker who is always being bullied by his co-worker (played by Huebel) and dreaming of a better life. Van Damme plays an ex-marine wilderness guide who takes the office on a 'work team adventure'. It was directed by Rob Meltzer and written by first time film writer Jeff Kauffmann. I found the movie to be pretty poorly written and directed but I did admire the effort put in by all of the cast (especially Van Damme).
Brody plays Chris, a bullied office worker who is constantly fantasizing about impressing his boss, Mr. Crawford (Haysbert), and co-workers; especially an HR manager named Lisa (Boone). Huebel plays the man who's always taking advantage of Chris, named Phil, and recently stole a successful idea of his. Chris finally has the chance to stand up to Phil, and prove his worth to all of his co-workers, when the entire work team is stranded on an island during a retreat. Their instructor, an ex-marine named Storm Rothchild (Van Damme), is attacked by a tiger and decommissioned.
This is Van Damme's first venture into comedy and he does a great job; I'm becoming more and more impressed with him (as an actor, athlete and entertainer) as years go on. It's just a shame he didn't have a better script and director to work with. I'd still much rather watch a movie like this than something like 'THE GAME PLAN' (with The Rock) or 'THE PACIFIER' (with Vin Diesel) though. Brody and Huebel are always good in comedies like this and it's great to see Haysbert stretching and doing comedy as well (and he's funny in his few scenes). I just didn't like the story or most of the jokes very much (and thought it was pretty poorly directed). Grade A for acting and effort though.
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