The man with the yellow hat named Ted Shackleford works at a natural history museum that's fallen on hard times. The museum director's son wants to turn it into a parking lot, but Ted offers to bring back a mysterious idol from Africa that's guaranteed to pull in crowds. Unfortunately, the idol turns out to be three inches tall. But Ted accidentally brings back a lonely yet irrepressible monkey, soon dubbed George. They set off on a non-stop action, fun-filled journey through the wonders of the big city toward the warmth of true friendship.

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I'll admit it: when I first saw the trailer for "Curious George", it inspired in me little more than an eye-roll and a deep sigh of martyrdom. As of late, Hollywood has had a fascination with remaking children's stories from earlier decades, producing such atrocities as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "The Cat in the Hat", and "Bad News Bears" (to name just a few). Taking the misguided notion that people actually want to see modernized versions of these stories and combining it with the voice talents of perhaps the most overrated comedy star in Hollywood (Will Ferrell) seemed, at first glance, to be a recipe for certain disaster. Forced by my little brother to see this and all children's fare, I sat in the darkened theatre of "Curious George" with a level of anticipation dangerously approaching ennui, fully expecting to be more entertained by the ads promoting the hot buttery popcorn at the concession stand. Then the movie started, and I tried to rearrange the hood of my sweatshirt so that I could catch a few winks without my brother noticing. Begrudgingly, with the reluctance of some bizarre fictional creature being force fed green eggs and ham, I began to pay more and more attention to the film as I was captivated by a surprisingly strong performance by Ferrell and the understated (yet effective) animation. I was surprised to find that there were a few laughs for adults as well as kids, and was shocked to find the plot as one actually worth following. The premise of the movie: The man in the yellow hat (named "Ted" in the movie) has the responsibility of discovering an exhibit that will save his beloved museum from becoming a parking garage. He goes overseas, befriends George, and typical "Curious George" mayhem ensues. George is cute without being cloyingly adorable (not an easy trick in animation), and the script is also faithful to the books in that he doesn't suddenly begin giving verbal discourse on "War in Peace" (remember when suddenly Tom and Jerry could not only talk but SING in their disaster of a movie?). There are the occasional sight gags (a ship named the "H.A. Rey" comes to mind) and witty dialogue that make the Pixar films so successful, and the conclusion is satisfying (although the ending scene definitely enters the realm of the deeply weird). If you're unsure about this film, take it from the word of the deeply skeptical: chances are good that you will you not hate "Curious George", and odds are that you'll even enjoy it. As "Yellow Hat" Ted and George fly over the city clinging to a set of balloons (guess I'll have to mark the 'contains spoilers' box for this), he makes the ironic remark that "This isn't so bad" after all. We agree, Ted. We agree.

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