Film Reviews: Wednesday, January 16, 2003
Kangaroo Jack
Starring Jerry OíConnell and Anthony Anderson. Directed by David McNally. Written by Steve Bing and Scott Rosenberg. Rated PG.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Donít Goto the Hop

Youíre no Gollum, Kangaroo Jack! And your movie stinks.

By KRISTIAN LIN

íll say one thing for Kangaroo Jack. Of the comedies currently out there, it isnít as bad as Just Married. Iím feeling charitable, so Iíll even say one other thing for it: Christopher Walken made me laugh as a mobster who does vocabulary-building exercises in his spare time. Asked to use the word ďamorphousĒ in a sentence, he responds, ďWhen Johnny Clam got whacked, his head was amorphous.Ē

And thatís it. Thatís the one truly enjoyable moment in this terrible kidsí comedy that aims for the same audience that made a hit out of Snow Dogs this time last year. (A sequel to that movie is rumored to be in the works, by the way. If you paid to see the original, this is your fault. Not mine. Yours.) Hollywood thrives on little kids, who havenít had time to develop critical standards or sales resistance, who typically drag an extra admission in the form of a parent or two to the theater, and who feel more or less entertained when a movie creates an atmosphere that makes them feel like they should be entertained. (Come to think of it, that last thing describes too many grown-up moviegoers.)

Kangaroo Jack involves a couple of brain-dead Americans (Jerry OíConnell and Anthony Anderson) who are sent by Walkenís mob boss to deliver $50,000 to someone in Australia. Through some ineffective plot machinery, the money winds up in the pocket of a jacket thatís been put on a kangaroo, which means the two guys have to chase the computer-generated marsupial through the outback. Director David McNally and screenwriters Steve Bing and Scott Rosenberg have done zero kidsí movies between them, and their inexperience shows, as the gangster plot gets too heavy and thereís a perfunctory romance between OíConnell and a wildlife expert (Estella Warren) ó whatís a romantic subplot doing in a kidsí movie?

The kangaroo, meanwhile, is nearly as disastrous a computer-generated character as Scooby-Doo. Mercifully, the animal doesnít talk except during a brief fantasy sequence, so weíre spared lots of sure-to-be-unfunny dialogue. Still the animal is supposed to have funny human reactions to the comedy bits, but the image isnít nearly a good enough actor. With the vivid performance of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, why would any but the youngest viewers want to see a piece of computer animation that canít out-act the unexceptional human talent in this film? Do yourself and your kids a favor and prevent a sequel to this movie by staying away.


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