It’s great that Jean-Claude Van Damme can make light of his tough-guy image and he’s certainly the selling point for “Welcome to the Jungle,” a comedy about an Outward Bound-style corporate retreat on a deserted island that devolves into “Lord of the Office Flies.” What’s not so great is that the movie is only sporadically funny.
Adam Brody (“The O.C.,” “House of Lies”) is Chris, a shy, young artist at a packaging firm who suffers in silence as his best ideas are always stolen by his loudmouth boss, Phil (Rob Huebel), and the woman he has a crush on (Megan Boone) barely knows he’s alive. But the tables are turned after the company president (Dennis Haysbert) decides they need some team-building training and brings in Storm (Van Damme) to head up the exercise in an out-of-the-way location.
When Storm is taken down after finding himself on the wrong end of a tiger’s claw and everyone thinks they’re stranded, former Eagle Scout Chris discovers he’s better at navigating the great outdoors than office politics. That puts him on a collision course with obnoxious Phil as both vie to be “tribal leader.”
There are occasional humorous moments — the nebbishy Asian (Aaron Takahashi) who becomes Phil’s “pet” in their new society not being one of them — but “Jungle” is mostly plodding and predictable. And, in the end, it’s the audience that needs rescuing.
Welcome to the Jungle
1 star (out of 5)
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adam Brody, Dennis Haysbert
Rated: Unrated; 94 min.