Curious George
directed by Matthew O'Callaghan
(Universal, 2006)

It all depends on how happy you want to make your kids -- especially if your kids are little.

Having experienced Curious George in the theater and now, let's just say, "several times" on DVD (within a week of its release) with my own kids, I can unequivocally say kindergarteners find lots to enjoy about Curious George.

The monkey is, essentially, one of them -- and he gets into all kinds of mischief, the kind that catches their fascination. He fingerpaints all over a white wall; he dumps paint into a lady's bath, making her look like a Jackson Pollock painting done in peacock colors; he can swing from banners strung across the street; he can climb the dinosaur skeleton at the museum.

Based on the well-loved books of H.A. and Margret Rey, Curious George doesn't have any of those jokes many animated films do: the ones that won't offend the little ones but instead will go right over their heads to amuse the parents.

At least the first two or three times parents watch the movie.

Instead, when it's focusing on George, it's all about how little monkeys cope when they're out on an adventure in the big, big world.

George meets the Man in the Yellow Hat (voiced by Will Ferrell, and hereafter known as Ted) when Ted is on an expedition to bring back a magnificent idol to help spur attendance at the floundering museum where he works. George swipes the Big Yellow Hat, gets on board the ship and sails off back to the big city -- unbeknownst to Ted.

Man and monkey find each other, and embark on their odyssey to find adventure in the big city, save the museum from being turned into a parking garage and, maybe, find love with Miss Maggie (voiced by Drew Barrymore).

It should be mentioned that George, mercifully, has no voice -- he's just allowed to be a chimp.

Where Curious George lost my attention (even the first time I saw it, let alone the third) is when it turns to the budding romance of Ted and Miss Maggie. Even my die-hard romantic princess of a 5-year-old squirmed around and asked for a snack to pass the time.

Just bring back the monkey, give him some paint and a little freedom, and let the mischief begin.

by Jen Kopf
27 January 2007

Buy it from