Brendan Fraser might be witnessing a Matthew McConaughey-style revival of late, but despite what the current wave of praise might have you believe, he wasn’t exactly a consistently beloved star back in the day, despite his sincerity and gentle allure. In fact, his box office record is pretty erratic. His biggest hits have been the Mummy movies and “George of The Jungle,” but otherwise things have been rocky. Fraser’s best films often weren’t commercial successes, and his best dramatic work has mostly been when he isn’t the lead, or isn’t the only star.
With that in mind, Universal seemingly banked on Fraser when that wasn’t necessarily the best move. Likely spurred on by the success of Disney’s “George of The Jungle,” the studio was hoping for a repeat of that 1997 outing, especially considering “Dudley Do-Right” was similarly based on a Jay Ward creation and Fraser would be portraying a similarly bumbling character, clearly incapable of living up to the demands of his title. Universal even highlighted their own aspirations to match the success of “George of The Jungle” with the trailer for their movie, which opens by pointing out that it comes from, “the creator of ‘George of the Jungle,’ and the star of ‘George of the Jungle,’ and the acclaimed director who saw ‘George of the Jungle'” Alas, that barely amusing joke wasn’t enough to kick the hype machine into gear, and with Fraser unable to save “Dudley Do-Right” from itself, the movie was doomed to fail.
At least Fraser made up for it all with his incredible, horrifying backstory for Dudley, which involved the character witnessing his mother’s murder at the hands of his father before swearing to “do right” for the rest of his life.