Welcome to Big Momma Nature’s House!
Rob Meltzger‘s WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (2014) is a mature version of “The Office” meets “Survivor” on a tropical island far away from the corporate environment. “The Muscles from Brussels” Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD) is the main highlight, and he seems to have fun mocking himself and his previous fighting roles. The laughs are good if only the movie’s runtime were shorter.
Chris (Adam Brody) is a mild-mannered worker within a company that designs labels for toilet paper. His winning ideas, stolen by scheming colleague Phil, (Rob Huebel) and the CEO (Dennis Haysbert) do not like to hear what he believes to be his jealous complaining and suggests that he proves himself to be a worthy employee. To raise morale and productivity around the office, an ex-Marine named Storm (Van Damme) chaperones everyone to a deserted island for a company survivalist retreat. Of course, something goes wrong, and now the inexperienced workers must cooperate–or not–to survive the island and escape.
The first twenty minutes or so of the film are promising as the cast gives off an Office Space (1999) vibe from their frankness and peculiarity showing up in their humor delivery. Everyone’s characters have an assured brand (i.e.) the straight but meek guy, the slacker, the office hottie, the geeky woman, the pot head, etc. Then the movie starts to get a little campy, however, but in a good way.
As far as humor goes, the best parts occur at the beginning and middle of the film–especially when Van Damme are part of the scenes. Chris is a sympathetic character since he is a guy who only wants to be respected by his co-workers and get credit for his hard work, but there’s nothing more to his character, nor anyone else’s character to care enough about them. However, this mixed bag of personalities is what “sells” the film. The camera gets a little shaky, and it becomes difficult to “view” particular scenes. However, the many good moments outweigh the few bad ones.
Welcome to the Jungle does offer up some much-needed laughs. Oh and there’s a tiger. Totally worth checking out.