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Film / Jungle 2 Jungle

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Jungle 2 Jungle is a 1997 Disney remake of the 1994 French comedy film Little Indian, Big City, starring Tim Allen.

Michael Cromwell (Allen), a New York-based commodities broker, wants to marry his lady love Charlotte (Lolita Davidovich). But his divorce from his first wife, Dr. Patricia Cromwell (JoBeth Williams), hasn't been finalized yet, and he has to locate her. He traces her to a tribal settlement in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. His visit comes with a surprise: Michael and Patricia have a 13-year-old son who has been raised by the tribe, Mimi-Siku (Sam Huntington).

Michael is convinced to take his son with him in a first visit to New York City. Major culture shock follows. Also, the boy finds his first love in Karen Kempster (Leelee Sobieski), daughter of Michael's co-worker Richard (Martin Short).

Jungle 2 Jungle provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Depends on if you consider it an "accident" or not—Mimi is looking for his pet tarantula in Charlotte's bed while she's sleeping in it, and gets an eyeful of her lower bits. He visibly doesn't mind what he sees, but she understandably flips out when she sees him there.
    Mimi: [happily] Nice poochie-poochie!
    Charlotte: [wrapping herself up in a blanket and fleeing] THAT IS THE LAST "POOCHIE-POOCHIE" YOU'RE GOING TO SEE AROUND HERE, YOU LITTLE SAVAGE!
  • Adaptation Name Change: Most of the main characters retain their names from the original French version, but Steph becomes Michael and Sophie becomes Karen.
  • Aesop Amnesia: So Michael acknowledges that he took Patricia for granted, and paid more attention to his work than her. He even acknowledges it to Mimi, and realizes that's why Charlotte might be so unhappy. But he ditches Charlotte twice in the movie without telling her why, and by the end, she's clearly unhappy with Michael and unwilling to work around his schedule.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Mimi reveals to Michael that he can speak English by correcting Michael's mistranslation of "hoko" as a generic term for birds, rather than the specific bird "toucan". However, the bird shown in the footage was a scarlet macaw, not a toucan.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT call Mr. Jovanovic "Mr. J." And don't screw him on a stock deal, either.
    • And don't ring the doorbell four times.
  • Big Applesauce: The movie features plenty of lovely shots of the pre-9/11 NYC skyline, along with location filming around the rest of the city.
  • Blithe Spirit: Michael and Mimi-Siku go for a stroll in Central Park after buying some hot dogs from a vendor. Then Mimi notices some Street Performers singing and playing instruments for a number that sounds remarkably similar to the tribal music he has heard back home, and he excitedly performs an ecstatic dance before the astonished onlookers. Mimi urges his father to join him, and Michael indulgently does. Then everybody in the park gets into the spirit and joins in the spontaneous dance party.
  • Blow Gun: Michael contrives to shoot himself in the leg with semi-paralytic darts not once but twice.
  • Bowdlerise: A unique case. In an edited version which aired on the Disney Channel in the late 90's, two scenes had lines replaced with alternate takes which were actually filmed on set, rather than simply dubbing the lines later which is the standard practice. Examples:
    • When Patricia is telling Michael his son's name, she explains that it roughly translates to "cat pee" instead of "cat piss."
    • Mimi-Siku refers to the Statue of Liberty as the "woman who lights up the sky," instead of "woman who hold fire up sky's butt." For continuity purposes, Michael's subsequent boisterous laugh was changed to a light chuckle.
  • Child Hater: Zig-zagged. Charlotte is almost an example, since she doesn't want to have kids and wasn't happy to hear about Mimi, but she does make an effort to befriend Mimi at first. She only starts disliking Mimi after the kid repeatedly acts out of line.
  • Clifftop Caterwauling: At the beginning of the movie, Mimi-Siku lets out a triumphant yell at the top of a cliff, after scaling it bare-handed.
  • Cultural Translation: The original took place in France. Disney changed this to America.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Richard isn't exactly thrilled when his daughter falls for Mimi.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Michael.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Mimi and Karen actually didn't (this is a Disney film, after all, and they're just thirteen), but it doesn't stop her dad from freaking out and threatening her with boarding school.
  • Dog Food Diet: Well, Cat Food Diet. Mimi wanted to eat the cat, but settled for the food after the cat was taken away.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Karen, in a fit of rebelliousness, tells her dad that her name isn't "Karen" anymore. It's "Oo-Koo-May," the name Mimi gave her.
  • Eat The Dog: It's a running gag. First, Mimi wants to eat Charlotte's cat, but he settles for the cat food instead. Then he kills a pigeon with an arrow and gives it to a homeless man to eat. Finally, he steals the Kempsters' exotic fish and roasts them over a campfire in the backyard.
  • Exact Words: Mimi-Siku asks Michael to take him to the Statue of Liberty "when he's a man." Michael agrees, not realizing that he will become a "man" according to his tribe the very next day. A bit of an unusual example as Michael is being held to Mimi's interpretation of his promise. At no point did he say when in Mimi's adult life the trip would happen.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: Subverted, then played straight. Jovanovic and his goons are more than sufficiently menacing (nearly slicing off Richard Kempster's fingers), but then they are humiliatingly trounced by Mimi-Siku and the surprisingly competent Kempster family.
  • Fingore: Jovanovic's preferred method of punishment is to cut off fingers. We don't see anything since it's a family movie, but we do see the results of this punishment on another man.
  • Fish out of Water: Three kinds.
    • First, there's Michael in the Amazon jungle and village. As well as the Kempsters, who visit Mimi's village at the end of the film.
    • Second, and for the majority of the film, there's Mimi in New York City.
    • Finally, and more obliquely, there's Michael when he experiences Sink or Swim Fatherhood with Mimi, especially given Mimi's upbringing.
  • Foreign Queasine:
    • Lizard guts are Mimi's favorite food.
    • Also, Patricia offers Michael some bat bladder.
    • Jovanovic gives Michael and Richard some caviar straight from the fish. As soon as Jovanovic's back is turned, the two spit it out.
  • Foreign Remake: The original was French.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The father/son plot is the main focus, but there's also a lot more going on in the movie.
    • For instance, there's the plot with Richard, the coffee stocks, and the Russian Mafia.
    • Michael and Charlotte's relationship.
    • Mimi and Karen's romance.
    • The bit about the Statue of Liberty's fire.
  • Gilligan Cut: One happens during a father-son argument over the menu.
    Mimi-Siku: [after killing a snake] Now we cook it.
    Michael: No, no, no, I do not eat snake.
    (Cut to next scene)
    Mimi-Siku: Lizard guts?
    Michael: No, actually the snake filled me right up.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Mimi. At age six, he named himself "Mimi-Siku," which means "cat piss." When he meets Michael, he names him "Baboon."
    • However, he later averts this trope by giving Karen a native name with a nice meaning.
    • May be In-Universe Values Dissonance as Mimi's mother claims it's a territorial thing. "Baboon" may be a joke, however.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: At the beginning of the movie, Michael is a bona fide Jerkass who is wrapped up in himself and his white collar world, which cost him his first marriage. But his ex-wife Patricia isn't much better—she constantly belittles Michael; she springs Mimi-Siku on Michael after thirteen years; she says that promises in the tribe are kept no matter what, despite her breaking her promise to meet Michael in Caracas for the divorce paperwork; and she angrily guilts Michael into taking a son he knew nothing about two days ago back to New York, knowing full well that Michael made the promise with the belief that a "man" is eighteen or older and not thirteen.
  • Husky Russkie: The Russian boss and his enforcers. One is even strong enough to No-Sell a Pressure Point attack (granted it was Michael's hastily improvised mimicry of Mimi's much more successful attack on another guy)
  • In the Local Tongue: Mimi-Siku means "cat pee".
  • Kidanova: Mimi-Siku is very popular with the village girls and gives them cooking pots as gifts, which the girls love and are more practical than flowers in the jungle. He doesn't stop when he gets to New York, either, flirting with a girl on the street and later romancing Karen. Michael claims it's In the Blood, but Patricia seems skeptical.
  • Large Ham: Richard Kempster. It is Martin Short, after all.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: The title is stylized to change the word "to" into the number 2.
  • Literal-Minded: Michael tells Mimi to pour milk on the Cap'n Crunch to make breakfast. But Michael neglects to tell Mimi that both should go into a bowl first...
  • The Mafiya: Russian mobsters are the closest thing this movie has to main antagonists.
  • Mighty Whitey: Played with, but ultimately subverted. Mimi-Siku is quite adept at tribal customs, but that is only because he has been explicitly raised as an native, and among native children. At one point the chief assigns him a task in order to "become a man," but due to Michael's refusal to cooperate it at first doesn't look as if Mimi will succeed. Michael himself is noticeably squeamish around the various jungle animals and Mimi's pets - as are other Anglo-American characters when Mimi is brought to New York.
  • Mystery Meat: The joke implied about Central Park Hot Dogs when Mimi-Siku tells his city-bound father Michael that the hot dogs he's trying out tastes like his favorite food back in his tribal home, lizard guts. This causes some squeamish reactions from his father who promptly spits out the portion he is chewing on and dumps the rest of the hot dog.
  • Only a Lighter: Mimi is given a mission by his tribal elder to steal fire from the Statue Of Liberty, and is disappointed to learn that its torch isn't real. At the end of the film his dad gives him a novelty lighter that looks like it.
  • Product Placement: Michael tries to introduce breakfast to Mimi by giving him Cap'n Crunch cereal.
  • Raised by Natives: Mimi-Siku was born and raise by natives and therefore knows their culture well as opposed to Michael's city smarts.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: While trying to escape from the Russian mobsters, Michael admonishes Richard for his harsh tone toward Karen, which leads to Richard giving him an angry tirade about his own supposed parenting skills.
    Michael: Richard, screaming is no way to deal with a child, all right?
    Richard: Oh, what? Are you suddenly Dr. Spock here? You've been a father for three days. And you're giving me lessons? That's good.
    Michael: You sound like an idiot.
    Richard: I'm a parent! Therefore, I'm an idiot! I have spent every day for the last twelve years worrying about my kids. About their safety, about their happiness, about their crooked teeth! [Beat] No offense, Andrew.
    Andrew: None taken.
    Richard: But of course, none of this means anything to you, because in the next few days, your son will be gone!
  • Repetitive Name: Lipo-Lipo, Mimi-Siku's home village. The river guide even comments "So nice, they named it twice", a reference to Michael's home city of New York.
    Mimi-Siku: In Lipo-Lipo, we eat with hands.
    Michael: In New York, New York, we eat with forks.
  • Rite of Passage:
  • Scenery Porn: Mostly in New York City, since the majority of the movie takes place there, but there are tons of lovely shots of Venezuela's Canaima National Park for the jungle scenes.
  • Shout-Out: "He's doing a Fay Wray!" (On Mimi-Siku on the outside of a high-rise)
  • Sink or Swim Fatherhood: Michael didn't even know Patricia was pregnant when she left, and due to the situation he finds himself in, must learn to shed some of his rigid self-important white collar mentality to bond with his son.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Michael takes the revelation of Richard making the mob deal and carrying the money with him in a crowded restaurant with subtle delicacy.
    Michael: Where's the money?
    Richard: It's here. [picks up Briefcase Full of Money]
    Michael: You're walking around New York City... With a MILLION DOLLARS IN A SUITCASE?!
  • Toilet Humor:
    • In the natives' culture, children choose their own names. Mimi chose his at age six, and apparently "Mimi-Siku" means "cat piss."
    • Mimi also doesn't know how to use a bathroom. First he pees on the plane's exit hatch during the flight to New York, then later starts to pee on a potted plant in Charlotte's office. Michael later gives a humorous explanation of how to use a toilet.
    Michael: Before you pee, you lift the seat. After you pee, you put the seat back down. Females in tribe start war over this. Many deaths.
    • The scene in the tribe's bachelors' tent is mostly a series of fart jokes, such as Michael softly remarking "Talk about your wind instruments." He later remarks to Patricia that the bachelors could "make a killing in a gas future".
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: Patricia left Michael without explanation because he had a fifth phone line put in, and the guy installing it mistook her for the receptionist. To its credit, the film briefly acknowledges that they'd been having problems communicating for six months leading up to this incident (a fact that Michael blames on his then-new job); but since this angle is downplayed, it makes Patricia seem a little bit petty.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The few people who went to see the movie did so because of the trailer. Especially the part where Martin Short is shown a tarantula bigger than his hand.
  • Translation by Volume: Mrs. Kempster does this with Mimi, even though he understands English fairly well.
    Michael: He's foreign, not deaf.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one in New York bats an eyelash at Mimi-Siku wandering the streets in full jungle garb, though it's justified since it's New York City and crazy things are everywhere.
    Richard: [seeing Mimi for the first time] Look, kid, I've given to the rainforest, okay?
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Everyone hates Mimi's tarantula, but no one worse than Mr. Jovanovic, who flees and leaves the Kempsters alone forever after Mimi sets the tarantula on him. A Russian mob boss!
    Jovanovich: I have many enemies... But none like that spider!
  • You No Take Candle: Mimi-Siku apparently talks like this since he was raised alongside a native South American tribe, though it's really odd since his mother holds a doctorate and speaks perfect English.


Video Example(s):



How a movie about a jungle boy turned into a movie about stockholders and the Russian Mafia.

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