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Beyond the 2008 meta-comedy drama JCVD, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a movie where Jean-Claude Van Damme has actively tried to draw laughs out of audiences. Wait, you mean to tell me Double Team was a comedy? Now I have to rethink my whole life. Luckily, the above trailer for Rob Meltzer’s Welcome to the Jungle looks like a rollicking good time, assuming you don’t mind your well-casted comedies intentionally looking dumber than a box of bricks. And I don’t.
With a screenplay from first-timer Jeff Kauffmann, Welcome to the Jungle is Lord of the Flies for the stereotypical office worker sect. Dennis Haysbert (24) plays a manger who decides to send his entire team out onto a motivational wilderness retreat on a remote island, only he doesn’t realize that the person he’s hired to guide them, Storm (Van Damme), might as well be holding a sign above his head showing a screw next to a ball. This guy is not mentally equipped to keep an entire group of people from haphazardly dying in the woods.
As part of its office group, the film stars Adam Brody as the central guy Chris, Rob Huebel as the lunatic Phil, Aaron Takahashi as the rage-fueled Troy, Kristen Schaal as the Schaal-like Brenda, Megan Boone as a pretty girl named Lisa, and Eric Edelstein as… another kooky character named Jared. Okay, so the trailer doesn’t exactly give us a lot of characters with memorable traits.
But it does feature Van Damme selflessly diving into comedic waters, who not only gets mauled during a well-timed surprise tiger attack, but also kicks a guy’s ass in rugged slow motion, only to be shown he’s actually making the slow motion sounds as he fights. Comedy gold? I mean, it’s no Jingle All the Way or anything. (Said as sarcastically as possible.) I really hope this flick comes down to Van Damme and the mud-faced Rob Huebel in a battle to the death.
Welcome to the Jungle will welcome you to theaters next February. Until then, you’ll just have to live with this truly awful poster below, which is completely made up for by another viewing of the Volvo commercial where Van Damme cuts a split in between two trucks as they travel backwards. It will doubtlessly have a longer shelf life than this movie, but maybe he’ll spread his legs in the movie too, while saying the film’s title. Anyway, here’s the ad.