Having first appeared in children's books by husband and wife HA and Margret Rey in 1941, it has taken mischief-causing monkey Curious George a long time to reach the cinema. In-between, there have been lots of spin-off books, games, animated TV movies and even allegations of racist undertones (George was taken from Africa by The Man in the Yellow Hat to live in the city). It's hard to see how George's big screen debut could offend anyone, a gentle and sweet film that should see him get plenty of new fans.
Times are bad at the Bloomsberry Museum and tour guide Dave (Ferrell) is facing the dole. But somehow he accidentally manages to convince the old explorer owner (Van Dyke) that he's the man to turn fortunes around - by finding the legendary Giant Idol statue. Out of his depth in the jungle, Dave doesn't find the statue but does meet a yellow hat-robbing prankster called George who stows away and follows him back to America - where even more adventures ensue.
While it lacks the bite and excitement of 'Shrek' and 'Monsters Inc', it's hard not to have a soft spot for George. He lives up to his name; he gets in bother because of it and he's bailed out by his human buddy. And what elevates his capers above the status of average is the original score by surf music king Jack Johnson. Johnson's songs are beautiful and add so much to the scenes that it's hard to see many working as well without them.
A soundtrack that's definitely worth buying; as for the film, well, perhaps Johnson would come back for a sequel?