Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Reuniting the all-star comedy lineup from the first film, Madagscar: Escape 2 Africa picks up right where that one left off, with best friends Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) plotting their return to the Central Park Zoo after being stranded in the...read more

Reviewed by Perry Seibert
Rating:

Reuniting the all-star comedy lineup from the first film, Madagscar: Escape 2 Africa picks up right where that one left off, with best friends Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) plotting their return to the Central Park Zoo after being stranded in the titular island nation. After a disastrous plane ride -- courtesy of some militarily inclined penguins -- they instead end up at an African wildlife reserve, where Alex has an unexpected reunion with the parents he was separated from as a cub. This storyline, in which Alex attempts to win the acceptance of his alpha-lion Dad, is so tired that not even a go-for-broke Alec Baldwin, as the scheming bad guy, can salvage it.

Baldwin isn't the only one giving it his all, because Sacha Baron Cohen, who provided the funniest moments in the first film as King Julien the Lemur, returns with a mad gusto that makes the film worthwhile whenever his character is onscreen. Like Robin Williams in Aladdin, Cohen flowers here because of the visual freedoms that animation allows. The filmmakers make sure Julien's physical look matches the voice no matter how demented it gets, and they succeed so grandly that you feel an anticipatory buzz during all his scenes, because truly anything could happen. If both

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