Jungle Cruise

By Joanna Langfield

Blub, blub.

Even if it isn’t the most creatively adventurous move, there is room in the world for these Disney trademark vehicles, the kind of retro family entertainments that everybody can pile into the minivan and get a few giggles out of. But, even with this relatively benign ambition and an admittedly top-flight cast, the jungle’s a bungle.

A team of six credited producers and three writers have served up what director Jaume Collet-Serra gamely tries to make into a cohesive, goofy adventure. But just when you think you know where we’re going in this Victorian era scientific expedition into the Amazon (the river, not the delivery service, mind you), things take a jarring turn and we’re almost off into what feels like another movie. Maybe these zig zaggy twists and turns work effectively in a theme park ride, but not here.

Credit where it’s due: Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt do their darndest to keep things moving along with a nice balance of zest and charm. And Jack Whitehall is pleasant as Blunt’s perfectly pleasant husband. But the scene stealers are Paul Giamatti, who literally made me laugh out loud when he first shows up as a bad guy with bad intentions, and Jesse Plemons, who actually makes a character out of an even badder and less developed bad guy, whose Nazi-like motives might confuse some of those whose minds have drifted during this over two hour, furiously determined entertainment.