starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan
screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinker, based on the book Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
directed by Jake Kasdan
by Walter Chaw Inexplicably named after a Guns N' Roses song, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (henceforth Jumanji 2) is a deeply problematic film that castrates its smartest ideas in order to please the broadest possible audience on opening weekend before dragging itself off somewhere to show up in a Redbox in a few months' time. Start with Kevin Hart--reunited with his Central Intelligence co-star, Dwayne Johnson--playing a porter, essentially, in a jungle adventure. Which, you know...what the actual fuck? I'm sure it means well, and Hart's threadbare shtick of being short and put-upon certainly fits the situation, but there's opportunity here, should director Jake Kasdan have chosen to take it, for Hart to comment on how degrading it is for a star of his stature to be appearing in a movie as Bagger Vance. He doesn't seem to notice there's baggage related to his playing a character who essentially carries a bag and hands weapons to the hero. He complains about it, though mostly he complains about not being able to run very fast and having one of his avatar's weaknesses be pound cake.