Film Review: Curiousity should kill the Curious George

Adapting a beloved childhood memory to the big screen is a daunting task. Those who take up the challenge don’t generally have much to worry about from the actual kids presently in love with the source material. Quite frankly, these children–the scourge of the earth–are far too stupid to understand when they’re watching the filmic equivalent of feces. The growing number turning to 18 page children’s stories to transform into a 90 minute movie do, however, have a lot to fear from those who grew up with the books and developed such grand ideas of how great their auteur of choice is, nothing could possibly satisfy them.

Curious George, the latest gold mine to be gutted so Hollywood can continue to house the only industry in the world completely devoid of ideas, somehow manages to up the ante. This film might just be bad enough to get those small, whiny, snot-filled, arguments-in-favour-of-worldwide-sterilization all riled up. At a recent screening even the dreadful children couldn’t find much to raise a chuckle at, leaving a theatre full of parents and their demon-offspring fighting over who got to look at the elders’ watches in order to see how much more they had to endure.

The film’s flaws are many but they begin with the characters. Though adorable and charming in H.A. and Margaret Rey’s series of books, on screen the titular simian comes across like much of his audience, namely as an Attention Deficit Disorder-addled, annoying child, the only difference is this one is thankfully mute. George’s never ending whims are amusing at first but quickly become tiresome, then infuriating as they needlessly prolong scene after scene.

The rest of the characters don’t fare any better. George’s foil, The Man in the Yellow Hat (voiced by Will Ferrell), is a nondescript bungling dolt. Needless to say, he is oblivious to the doe-eyed romantic interest’s (Drew Barrymore) er, interest and somehow gets stuck in a lot of situations he didn’t intend to be in, messes up repeatedly and makes everything work out just perfectly in the end. The problem is, The Man in the Yellow Hat is as unremarkable as his name, leaving Ferrell handcuffed. His only strong points as an actor are his uncontrollable zeal and improvisation, neither of which are possible in an animated feature.

With an engaging story Curious George could have been tolerable but it fails to deliver even this. What passes for the film’s plot doesn’t deserve much mention considering it’s only there to give George the impetus to follow his curiosity, which he does in ways anyone remotely familiar with the books will recognize.

Sadly, even the animation falls short, the settings are snappy and eye catching but the actual characters are flat and as boring as everything else Curious George has no choice but to boast. The resultant excuse for a film is a wholly unnecessary waste of a sacred childhood tome. The only people who could possibly find a drop of worthwhile in this bore are the most idiotic of idiotic children, but even they will have to try pretty damn hard and they hate that kind of thing.

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