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The Jewel of the Nile
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids will hear much swearing and see fistfighting and gun battles, although there's no blood. There's also a good deal of stereotyping, as the story relies on swarthy foreigners as bad guys (this time it's Arabs who come out looking bad.) The breasts of "primitive" black woman are shown, and there are plenty of juvenile sexual allusions, including a joke about being stuck in a prison with inmates who want to be "proctologists." The leads also have sex, although there's no nudity involved.
What's the story?
Feeling trapped in her relationship, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) accepts an offer to write the biography of Omar, a future African emperor. She leaves Jack (Michael Douglas) and travels down the Nile to find that the emperor-to-be's subjects are rebelling because Omar's not such a nice guy. Jack and Ralph (Danny Devito) come to save Joan and to take back the "Jewel" Omar has stolen. The Jewel turns out to be a religious man the people support. Joan and Jack escape with the Jewel into the desert where they make up over a primitive tribal dance. Re-captured by Omar, the two are tortured and, thinking they are going to die, determine at last that they should get married. Ralph shows up and inadvertently frees them, and the Jewel is shown to be a true miracle man.
Is it any good?
Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas turn in listless performances in a rip-off story that lacks the sparkle and drive of the first movie. Despite the fact that THE JEWEL OF THE NILE begins with a wedding, romance is entirely absent from this sequel. And the bigger explosions and chase sequences don't make up for the missing war-of-the-sexes energy. In the few scenes when the story does try to create something like sexual tension, the two leads come off as mean and spiteful.
Turner's Joan Wilder, naive but intelligent in the first movie, comes across as dull-witted here. Equally damaging to the movie is the lack of comic timing. In the first movie it's exquisite; here the jokes seem labored. And Danny Devito's character, a very funny bit player the first time, is tasteless and annoying in a more featured role. The movie is also a rip-off of the Indiana Jones series. The desert setting, the plane firing as it circles on the ground, the rats, the torture scene over the pit, the Nazi-like rally -- all these scenes were borrowed.
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