Welcome to the Jungle

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Welcome to the Jungle Movie Poster Image
Terrible, unfunny, crass comedy has no redeeming value.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This failed satire has no positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

At best, the characters are cliché, and at worst, they are excruciatingly crass, so no positive role models in this one. 

Violence

A character is believed to be mauled to death by a tiger. Characters fight in a pit. Characters come close to being decapitated. Implied rape.

Sex

Brief female nudity; bare breasts shown. Frequent references to sex. While stranded on an island, characters engage in orgies and are shown rolling around with each other or making gestures suggesting masturbation. Some characters are turned into sex slaves by the ruler of the island. 

Language

Frequent profanity throughout the film, including "f--k" and "p---y." Inappropriate sex talk in an office setting. While ogling an Asian woman, a man says that he would like to "eat a fortune cookie out of her butthole." The word "gay" is used in a negative sense. At an office meeting, a character is caught drawing all over a picture of the person making the presentation and adding the thought cloud, "I need lube" above his face. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. After being trapped on an island, a man spikes the food and drink of his coworkers with hallucinogenic drugs so they do his bidding. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Welcome to the Jungle is a 2013 movie in which a corporate retreat to a deserted island leads to orgies, sex slaves, implied rape, and drugs -- and that's just the beginning. This movie attempts to be funny by being excruciatingly crass but fails to be humorous, so the result is what Lost or Lord of the Flies would have been like if they'd been written by an alcoholic college fraternity with a collective C-average. There is frequent profanity (including "f--k"), brief female nudity, drinking, and drugs. Overall, this is an attempt at a satire of the corporate hierarchy, but it fails on every level, and what's left is a gratuitously vulgar, crass, and unfunny movie with no redeeming value, not even as mindless entertainment. 

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What's the story?

Chris (Adam Brody) is restless and unhappy in his advertising job, especially when his jerk boss, Phil (Rob Huebel), steals his idea for an ad campaign. But everything changes when their boss decides that what they need is a corporate retreat to an abandoned island, in which trust and character-building exercises will be conducted by an ex-Marine named Storm Rothchild (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Almost immediately after they land on the island, everything goes wrong. The elderly pilot who flew them there dies, so they have no way to get home. Rothchild appears to be mauled to death by a tiger. And Phil has taken control of the island by spiking everyone's food and drink with hallucinogenic drugs. Exiled to the opposite end of the island, Chris and his few remaining allies from the office must find a way to take back control of the island from Phil, get his coworkers off the drugs that are turning them into Phil's slaves and sex slaves, and find a way to get everyone back safely. 

Is it any good?

This movie isn't awful simply because its failed attempts at humor largely come from being self-consciously "anti-PC." Although that is certainly a part of it, this movie fails because it just isn't funny, in terms of the story, the dialogue, the pratfalls, the satire -- anything. The premise, that office workers are left to fend for themselves on a deserted island, has potential, but that potential is never fully realized. Instead, the movie opts for weak jokes and sequences involving orgies, drug use, racial stereotypes, and the word "gay" being used in a negative context. The end result is a trite combination of Lost and Lord of the Flies, with a little bit of Office Space thrown in.

The acting and comedic talent is there in the actors, but it's impossible to work around a stale comedy with weak attempts at "bro" humor. There are tiger attacks, orgies, masturbation, drug use, crass talk about women, sex slaves, and implied rape; all this is supposed to be funny or satirical, but it isn't. Not even Jean-Claude Van Damme with all the kickboxing in the world could rescue this terrible movie. 

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about satire. When done effectively, how and why does it work? What is this movie attempting to satirize?

  • What are some ways in which this movie tries to be funny by being "anti-PC"? Does the humor work, or does it simply enforce racial and gender stereotypes? 

  • If you were remaking this movie, what changes would you suggest?

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