By Lisa Schwarzbaum
June 25, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Around the World in 80 Days: David Appleby
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  • Movie
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Because Around the World in 80 Days has been remade from the raw stuff of Jules Verne?s 1873 novel, certain basic architecture is familiar: Cockeyed inventor Phileas Fogg (swell British comic Steve Coogan) must still circle the globe in record-breaking time, or else lose a steep wager. And because the 1956 production still sets the bar for number of cameo appearances jammed into a supersized romp, this amiably dorky redo directed by ”The Waterboy”’s Frank Coraci doesn’t try to match guest-star abundance, but includes a drive-by hello from, among others, that shrewd high flyer Arnold Schwarzenegger in his last pre-gubernatorial acting gig.

What’s new and nutty, though, is the physical comedy of Jackie Chan as Fogg’s manservant, Passepartout, a tailor-made tweak that results in a martial-arts subplot nestled with surprising charm in Verne’s fantasy of futurism and eccentricity.

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