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Animated films have become models of technical wizardry and precociously clever dialogue, but Curious George could care less. The first feature film based on the enormously popular kids' books just wants to tell a simple, sweet story--and to producer Ron Howard's credit, it does just that. Set in modern times, the colorfully drawn film retains an innocence from the source material, but doesn't lack for wit: Will Ferrell, as Ted--aka the Man with the Yellow Hat--shows off his trademark dorky humor, and Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright also add a comic touch.
But, of course, the real star is the monkey: George is a ridiculously adorable creature who lays on the charm but never cloys. The old-fashioned 2-D animation is luminous and lovingly crafted, and the plot is engaging without major complications. Sure, high-concept computer animation may dazzle the mind, but sometimes less is more.